I’m Just Saying: Life can be grand

Published 8:00 am Friday, July 13, 2018

Pam is on vacay this week, and asked her good friend, Russ Forbus from Arizona, to be this week’s guest columnist.

Russ has been experiencing “the long goodbye” of early on-set Alzheimer’s with his beloved wife, Jane. In living his life, he is embracing the unexpected bright spots that might appear to help balance the difficulties of being a caretaker.

This was one of them:

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So, the other day, I’m in my car at Walgreens, and I look over and see this little Corolla with heavily tinted windows.

The driver is sitting there and has a giant head of hair. I mean giant hair.

As I get out and pass the car, the window rolls down and it’s this robust 40ish woman with a giant sorta afro…

She says, “What you staring at?”

“Well, to be honest, I couldn’t see in, but could see your giant head of hair and was captivated.”

She laughs, “I thought you were staring ‘cause you saw a black lady sittin’ in the car eatin’ fried chicken.”

I look over and she has a whole fried chicken in the passenger’s seat and drummy in her hand.

“Well, I didn’t know about the chicken, but c’mon that is pretty funny.”

“You want some chicken?”

“Nah, that’s okay.”

“I only buy the whole chicken, ‘cause it’s like a dollar more than just gettin’ two pieces on Monday.” (Randall’s Chicken Monday) “C’mon around, and have some chicken.”

I walk around and get in.

So here I am, in a stranger’s car in a Walgreens parking lot, eating fried chicken .

I said things like, “Do you have any mayo?”

She retorted, “This ain’t no fried baloney, it’s a yardbird.”

We just started laughing.

She had all these old Motown-y CDs in the back seat. Stylistics, Dramatics, O’Jays, etc.

Gwen says, “Do you like this music?”

“I love this music, as a matter of fact, if you’ve got some Chi-Lites, I can sing every word.”


I explained that I was kind of a track star when I was young, and we’d play this on the bus on the way to the meets.

Gwen pops in Chi-Lites.

I jump into the song, “One month ago, today, I was happy as a lark…”

Gwen almost spit out her chicken, “Oh, my Lord, I’m having so much fun!” She has her hand covering her mouth to keep from losing chicken as she giggles.

We probably sat there for about 30 minutes, and then I had to go. We try to hug, but she’s a big girl, and it’s not working. So I get out and I’m heading to the store.

Gwen says, “Russ, come here,”

I turn and she’s standing next to her car, “You ain’t gettin’ out of here without a hug!” So we hug, still watery-eyed from laughing.

As I turn to leave I look over my shoulder and say, “I’ll see you next Monday!,” and we both start laughing again, and part ways.

Life can be grand.