This time I want to talk about nursery homes. Of course, this isn’t really a subject that just covers Missouri, or even the United States. We’ve got nursery homes too, and a lot of things that I noticed in the Midwest, are probably just as true in the Netherlands. Having kept everyone from both disappointment and writing clever comments (feel welcome to), I’d like to give an impression of my time in an American nursery home. Literally the first thing I saw when I entered the home, was a giant tv. There was something on that promoted the benefits of cremation instead of burying (Mike, think of all the room you’d save!). It lasted for over three minutes, and all this time I was stunned by the programs they showed to these people. Of course, it turned out to be the commercial in a break from watching Lingo all day. I knew Americans watch an awful lot of television, and your old people are not keeping the stats down. It felt kind of depressing, as if a nursery home itself isn’t a down place enough.
One of the things I witnessed was a church gathering in the lobby. Visiting my girlfriend’s grandfather and respecting his desire to be there, we stayed to watch the mini-service. I sang a few songs from the sheets they handed out and it wasn’t up to the second round that I realized they were just repeating the whole thing. I didn’t necessarily like the songs, since they were all inspired by the idea of dying very soon. If the text didn’t come across, the leader of the service would point it out before every song: ‘Now this one is about the heaven you’ll all go to very soon, let’s clap!’. After a bit I realized grandpa wasn’t in the middle of an intensive prayer, but sleeping. We took him away, as the service started the third round of singing.
I couldn’t fit it somewhere in the story, but this was typically American to me: one man wasn’t there because of age, but because of weight. He was so big, apparently he couldn’t take care of himself anymore. This made me pretty mad, to see someone throw his life away like that. I’m all for freedom and that, but I think he took too big a part of it.