Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Elderly in Italy

The Elderly in Italy are treated with a great deal of respect, and it’s respect they deserve. Italy is not equipped for the handicapped, so elderly folks have to “suck it up”. There are stairs versus elevators, cobblestones streets, narrow sidewalks, lots of people walking close together, and quickly. I often see very elderly folks with their canes and orthopaedic shoes, making their way to the markets, bars, or stores.

Today, I was behind a very elderly lady at the grocery store. She had a cloth bag that she used to gather her things, and then took them out to lay them on the belt. In Italy, you must bag your own groceries, and you must pay for the bags, or bring your own back to carry away your things. She of course had a huge handbag, and it took days for her to get her money out and pay. In the meantime, she had not begun to put her groceries back in the bag.

The cashier patiently started checking me out, and handing me my things to place in the bag one at a time, so the elderly woman could remove her things from the tray at the end of the belt. She asked for a bag, after she had paid, and he gave her one for no charge.

I bagged my things, paid, and made my way around the woman, who was still slowly but surely putting her things into the bag. The other people in the line waited and worked around her as she gathered her things. I pray that someday, I will be that old woman in Italy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This story made me "homesick" for Europe. Your article in the WSJ today was at once a trill & sad.

Good on you, Enjoy