The Juice Cart Connection
Moving to Paradise Valley Estates opens your life to new connections. When I arrived, I knew only two of the nearly 500 residents. Happily, there are a lot of opportunities to connect with others. I had been here only a month when a neighbor suggested I volunteer with her in Laurel Creek.
The juice cart? Juice and cookies? What good is that? Can’t we do better? I had all of those thoughts when I made my first “Juice Lady” appearance. That day, the coordinator who organized the first independent living residents to volunteer at Laurel Creek was there temporarily there due to a fall. She greeted me warmly and thanked me profusely for coming. I left her room feeling like Clara Barton. We stayed in touch for the next ten years. It was a special connection that cheered us both.
I soon got to know lots of residents in Laurel Creek. There was the avid A’s fan who had halting speech from a stroke, but his great sense of humor was fully intact and fast as ever. We had good, and sometimes raucous visits. Many times, he cheered me a lot. I hope I did the same for him. One of our community’s original founders — who also started the PVE Library and The Store — shared her experiences with me. She counseled me about thriving at PVE. We had many treasured visits.
Another longtime resident moved to Laurel Creek after his wife passed away. He gave his huge collection of detective stories to the library. Many residents were thrilled, and the books quickly went into circulation. He made connections with the residents who shared his taste in reading. Weekly, he would decline my offer of “juice and cookies.” We had a great time as he made funny, elaborate excuses for not needing refreshment. It was another wonderful connection.
When I told a resident that I hadn’t visited with her the week before because she as asleep, she said that she looked forward to my visits and I must always wake her.
Talking to residents often leads to stories about family — especially grandchildren. These tales are fun for both those who tell and listen as well as build good connections. Sometimes the residents don’t feel well and a simple, “Hello and have a good day” is a good visit. Of course, there are juice and cookies, too.
Often my visits to others cheer me and benefit me more than anyone. All of the wonderful connections I have made because of the juice and cookie cart have been worth the time and energy. I now know what good they do.