The long awaited day: The Old Codger Comes Home

Your surprise.  Here is Dale our resident Old Codger.   He is home again.  His daughter came from California to bring him home from the Old Folks Home.  He is endlessly grateful to the folks at the retirement /rehab home and is so relieved that they were able to help him get fit enough to come home. He has lived on this spot almost a hundred years. His objective was to get back home.

TonTon  about wobbled his bottom right off with excitement to find his old friend back in his accustomed place of residence.  He carefully moved through the house ’til he found the old man and then threw himself at his feet.  I took the camera when I visited and asked him if I could take some photos so that you all  could see that he was finally home safe and sound. He was more than happy to sit for you and then blown away when I told him how many people have been reading about his struggle to overcome his badly broken leg and get back home. Why. He said, referring to all the comments and best wishes and grinning.

We thought about this for a bit and then I said. I think that you bring us hope.  They wanted to cheer you on as you beat the odds and worked your way back. I still cannot find the right words. I guess in a world full of rotton stories it is heartening to see stubbornness overcome sense and win.  The old man who picks up his walker and walks after falling and smashing his leg to bits is a kind of miracle.  He went to the right place, worked with the right people, ate the right food and did the right work and succeeded.

Well, he said, smoothing his hair, I don’t expect a marriage proposal. He has a slight midwest drawl to his words which raises his vowels, holds them and bounces them down to the end of each sound.  There is a musical quality to his voice. He is at his best when being ironic. He will tease. And he misses nothing.

I will tell them you are rich, I said.  He lifted his head and laughed.

He called his dog up to his knee.  TonTon raised his head from atop Dales shoe.  You know how to get around me don’t you, he said to TonTon as they positioned themselves and turned to the camera.

This young dog and his very own Old Codger. 

I told him how many of you have been following his progress  since mid February and he was really chuffed.   It has been a long harrowing road back to mobility.  And you all have followed through with him.

His bed is in his downstairs office so he will probably be reading the blog today.  Safely back home in his parents house on his grandparents land with their furniture, his hundreds and hundreds of books and his ancient computer. This is not a home one leaves easily.  This is a house that needs its Patriarch. 

And as Dale said to me yesterday, we will find a way to make it work again. Though I won’t be going up those stairs for a while.

Did you eat a good breakfast Dale? What we really should be looking for is simple nutritious meals that  people with limited mobility can prepare at home.  That he will want to prepare himself. I am not convinced about the level of goodness in TV dinners. He does not want his food delivered. He prefers to feed himself. But walking with two hands on a walker and carrying a plate of food to the table is incredibly difficult.   Picking something up off the floor.  Carrying a coffee to your chair by the TV.   Unpacking a box.  Finding a lost book.  He and I will be working out systems to manage all this.  So he can thrive while living alone. Just living is not enough- a person must thrive. But, like he said yesterday, we will find a way to make this work again.

He loves ribs and pizza.  And chilli.  Sweet and sour chicken TV dinners out of their separate compartments. And tomatoes. And junk food in bright orange crinkly packets, which he offers to me just to see me curl my lip and say Not in a Million Years!!  He is fierce about his independence. This is a good thing.

I will take him fresh milk and eggs and cake three times a week. And tomatoes, John picks at least one a day now.  Everyone needs an old person. One way or the other. Paid or unpaid. Easy or not. Just regular. Make sure you can visit on a regular schedule.  It is a committment. A good one.

Good morning. It is 5.30 am.  Time to carry the buckets of hot water to the barn and get ready for the milking. Have a lovely day.


65 Comments on “The long awaited day: The Old Codger Comes Home

  1. I am so happy to read this heart warming post. Welcome home Dale! You keep taking good care of yourself and let TonTon and celi look after you too. And no more junk food (well, a ltitle treat every so often), just lots of lovely healthy things to keep you fit and well. A bug hug from Andalucía:)

  2. What an inspiration! Good for Dale, for being so stubborn as not to give up. Good for you, C, for being such a Good Neighbor…
    That face on TonTon just says it all….that is Pure Doggy Love, the best healing force in the Universe!

  3. Welcome home Dale! Great to see you settling back in to your rightful place in the world. I’m sure Miss C will keep you in tomatoes . I don’t know what your walker is like, but you can get trays like this one: Some have little nests for your cup so you don’t end up wearing your coffee. That might make it easier to get from kitchen to chair?

  4. Very, very pleased he is home safe and well and doesn’t TonTon look happy to have him back? Warms the cockles of my heart too. How I wish someone would bring me cake 3 times a week along with a daily tomato! 😉

  5. Yippee, welcome home Dale – I feel I should say Uncle Dale. 🙂 C and Ton will take the best care of you!
    Beautiful photos C.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy

  6. Whoo hoo, clap clap clap.:) Pleased to meet you Dale. You are rich – you have your (recovering) health and your independance. We can get individual thermos cups here complete with seal, or alternatively, pack cooked food in individual tupperware containers and carry these in a bag. I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it quickly, whichever way you decide on. The Farmy’s eggs and milk will build you up. Hugs from South Africa. Laura

  7. Now, this is good news! And that TonTon is the best welcoming party one could have. With the 2 of you checking in a few times a week, Dale will certainly thrive. You won’t have it any other way. 🙂
    Have a great day, Celi. Another Cubs game tonight.

  8. Welome home Dale,
    I’m pleased your best friends Ton and Celi were there to say hello!
    You and Ton have a special place in each others hearts; just shines through in the photos.

  9. What a happy surprise today’s blog brought us. I felt like getting on the chair and cheering! Hooray for you, Dale. You’re back where you should be, and I’ll bet it never looked better. How lucky you are to be in the wonderful clutches of Celi; she is an inspiration to all of us.

  10. Good morning to you all! I lioved how Ton Ton nearly waggled his bum off – I know a dog just like that, the sheer excitement and pleasure is untold. I’m now looking forward to reading about the ready meal battles, I’m sure there is more to come…..

  11. Welcome back to your home, Dale. Your determination, your spunk, your sense of humor, your positive attitude are all the most admirable qualities. You remind me of my stubborn and strong paternal grandmother. And that is a good thing. Very good.

    Like Miss C, I’m not big on you eating those TV dinners. But sometimes you have to do what works. My grandpa ate those all the time, too.

    I know you and Miss C can find ways to make getting around and living at home easier. In a small way, I understand a bit of your challenges having negotiated with a walker following hip replacement surgery four years ago. And I had the help of a husband and son. It’s not easy. But patience helps. I trust you’ve been given some tools to help you. Two that come to mind: a long-handled pincher type device that will help you retrieve items and another device that will help you get socks on. I have no idea what they are called.

    I wish you the best, Dale. And thank you, Miss C, for sharing Dale with all of us.

  12. This is a lovely story. The photos are wonderful – especially the first one with TonTon. Stubbornness always overcomes good sense, when the sense is someone else’s and not yours. I’m glad he had the sense to listen to no one but himself.

  13. How true, C… To keep them thriving is the important thing. And this is a wonderful story, I am so pleased that he is back home and we got to see his wry smile!

  14. Mr. Dale…Many thanks for showing us how to get it done. Miss C…many thanks for reminding us to touch.

  15. Welcome home Dale! Enjoy the comforts so familiar.
    Celi, his daughter in California must be endlessly grateful. A bright moment in my day for sure.

  16. No wonder you think so much of your Old Codger, his face is one of character and humour – quite a twinkle there! And he likes to tease which must make your relationship a joy! Congratulations to him for all his hard work and determination.
    P.S. A few weeks ago you left a comment on my blog about how the BandB thing works. Well, later this evening I’m hoping to publish a post covering that subject, so maybe you can pay a visit in between milking Daisy, feeding animals, weeding, cooking, checking on the Old Codger, hosing the pigs…..

  17. I cried reading this. It was so wonderful to chat briefly with Dale yesterday over the phone. He sounded so full of joy! Thank you for this pictoral as it helps to see him in his natural habitat.

  18. How lucky you all have each other to keep tucked safe in this world. I’m so glad to see Dale is home and has faithful Ton Ton to cuddle!! No more risky leg-breaking activity, now!!! xo Smidge

  19. This brought tears to my eyes, for all the right reasons I must add, and of course keeping in mind that I always cry at happy endings of movies … anyway, welcome home, Dale.

    Good morning, c, and wakey-wakey farmy!

  20. wait..did i miss something? is ton ton dale’s dog? welcome back dale!!! is there a house for sale next door to you? i would cook for you every day! i am soooo happy you are back where you belong. don’t write off the marriage thing just yet. you are quite a looker for your age! joyce

  21. Good morning! Welcome home Dale! What a lovely post today. It made me cry and brought back wonderful memories of my grandpa. TonTon is such a lover. An angel sent from heaven, really.

    Have a wonderful day, Cecilia! ~ April

  22. So thrilling that Dale is finally home! I just love the pictures of Dale and Ton Ton…. so precious!!!
    I have a fabulous recipe for egg muffins that can be made, kept in the fridge for 5-7 days and also frozen to eat at later dates. Great use for all the farm eggs! And I made them and they turned out great! Which of course is always so rewarding! Let me know it you want it and you can make a big batch for Dale and he’ll have nutritious breakfasts for a while! xo

  23. I’m absolutely delighted to see that Dale is home in his own beloved surroundings. The love flowing between him and Ton Ton says so much about healing touches and the power of relationship. I have several old people in my life, and count them among my most precious reasons for taking good care of myself! There has to be enough of me to lovingly spread around! I’m smiling and breathing a big sigh of relief with you. Thank you for the lovely photos, Celi, and thank you, Dale, for your willingness to pose. We do care about you! Debra

  24. Like some of the other well wishers, I was brought to tears reading this post..Welcome Home Dale and Ton Ton…you can just see the love between you two in these photos!! Cinderella…you are now becoming your fairy godmother!! 🙂
    Love and the Best of Luck to all of you from Gig Harbor, Washington (state) 🙂

  25. How wonderful that this lovely elderly gentleman is back where he belongs with his beloved dog right beside him. And how appreciative he must be of your visits, care and concern for him xx

  26. Celi, this is the best news! You have so generously helped this beautiful senior regain his freedom, solitude, peace and self sufficiency. To me, that all adds up to dignity!

    I respect you so very much for the love you give. You give greatly, dear woman.

  27. What the heck? You’ve dropped off my reader again! I’ll click and click again, but don’t understand. So lovely the Old Codger is home now…great news! And what fabulous images you captured of him…you can see his personality…and TonTon is positively glowing with happiness. No marriage proposals, that’s a hoot! You are “good people” Celi, and that’s an understatement.

  28. Dale is indeed an inspiration to us all! Celi, I suspect you have many more readers than you know, us lurkers are out here loving your blog, but not always compelled to comment! Wouldn’t be able to start my day properly without checking in here first!

  29. Welcome home Dale! It’s lovely to have you back where you belong – I’m sure you will work you way through the frustrations with the walker… how about a thermos flask for your hot or cold drinks… fill the thermos, put the lid on tight, put the thermos into a bag of some sort, hook the bag over the handle of your walker… away you go!
    I’m the same as Wendy – always check in first thing to see what you are up to Celi, but I don’t often comment…. but my day wouldn’t be the same without you XO

  30. How good to hear this news of Dale’s return – and to see his photo. He’s a pretty handsome old codger! You are right, this is a story that brings us all hope. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to care for an old person as well. What an inspiring example of tenacity and determination. I’m sure the good food from your land will help sustain him.

  31. Welcome home Dale! So glad to meet you. Many thanks to C for keeping us posted on your recovery and following up now that you are home. Ton is what my father called a “laughing dog” He looks happy to have you home too!

  32. Welcome home Dale, it must feel so good to you to be back in your own home again. You have been an inspiration to us as we followed your progress through the kindness of Celi and TonTon, and we have looked forward to every single visit with you. The photos are wonderful of you with TonTon, and the bond is clear as day – he adores you! Now we can put a face to the “Old Codger”. I am so happy to meet you at last.
    You have a dear friend in Celi, I know she will be bringing you lots of lovely fresh, healthy treats, and keeping a close eye on you!

  33. Wonderful. I don’t know what else to say. That first photo of Dale and TonTon, with TonTon looking up, was so touching and loving and filled with story and soul… I’m speechless. ♥

  34. So glad you are home, Dale! The blessings of the Lord be upon you as you return to your role on the farmy. What a lovely family you have around you.

  35. A great post about which I love 2 things in particular. First, Dale’s independence and willingness to take responsibility for his own wellbeing intricately and sensibly balanced with accepting necessary interaction with others. Too often the balance is wrong: too much dependence, too much independence. Second, Ton Ton & Dale: dogs and people are capable of deep and complex love – the 2 of them remind me of my dog Bo, and my Dad who had a great affection for each other. Celi, I’m yet another person telling you, you are beyond marvellous. And Dale, from one Dale to another I wish you well 🙂

  36. I’m glad he’s feeling so much better and is back home! There’s no place like home, especially one with such a long history. He needs a slow cooker then he doesn’t need to stand for hours in front of a hot stove, I think I’ve even seen ribs done it. Though you may need to the boiling separately first. And freezer meals are handy too. Avoid anything with too much chopping, it’s knackering. Take care of him. 🙂

  37. There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home. Click. Click.
    The walker can be fitted with a seat and with cup holders and with bags for holding reading/writing materials. Grabbers are wonderful for reaching items, just out of reach. With mine and my mom’s mobility issues I discovered a world of simple tools that made life sorta like an arcade game. The sock put-her-on-her was perhaps the most ingenious. A simple piece of hard plastic, covered in terrycloth with 2 long elastic “handles.” It made an impossibly, painful task into a game. How cool is that! Oh, and I just thought about plates to table – why not eat solid food out of cups? They are much easier for transporting without spillage…thinking outside the plate, so to speak 😉

    Have a marvelous day, Niiki

  38. Dale, we are so glad you are back home. It’s just that the world is so complex and difficult we need something to give hope – for something to go right. Your generation has a way of cutting through the nonsense – practical and solid. Some of us have parents who have already gone on – leaving us orphans without that old astute knowledge and insight of the world. We are fierce in wanting you to thrive – and on your own terms. (besides anyone who TonTon approves of, must be OK.)
    C. you are right, a person is richer with someone like Dale around. They are a treasure.
    It’s funny how houses seem to mourn and decline if their owners leave. It’s like they take care of each other.
    Despite protests, I stocked a few Ensure-type liquid drinks for my really old dad and father in law for those times they were so tired, but needed to eat something…and no cleaning up. (Surprisingly both requested a few more once they realized it was easy). But nothing is better than fresh tomatoes each meal! On Dr. said of all our relatives that age: anything they are interested in eating is pretty much OK – the important thing is to eat!
    Hugs to you C. – “earning stars in your crown in Heaven” as my grandparents used to say.

  39. Wow, how happy it is to read such a positive, cheery post. I am really glad the Codger has made it home. I wish I could send him containers of my chilli, which only need re-heating. TonTon seems in seventh heaven. Is the Codger near enough for TonTon to visit on his own? Sorry I was behind on the news due to the poetry course all week, but this news was worth waiting for!

  40. The story does indeed bring hope in this disparaging world. I am glad he is back home and that he recovered so well. My FIL is 87 and I doubt he would recover, but then he is neither as active or as young at heart. Very sad story indeed, so it’s nice to hear of such a happy story.

  41. Lovely photos – and the look on TonTon’s face says it all. This is a good soul.

    I tip my hat to you for taking the time and having the heart to care for this man. I am certain your efforts have provided and continue to provide a great deal of healing for this man. If I am this grateful from so far away, surely his gratitude is tenfold.

    Bless you, Ms. C.

  42. Welcome home to Dale! His independence and motivation are inspiring!!! And there’s no place like home. And C – Love what you wrote at the end. Thriving is important for sure. 🙂

  43. How well I remember life using a walker. (I’ve broken each foot once and don’t have good enough balance to use crutches). Carrying food was one of the hardest parts unless you have a wheeled walker with a platform — I didn’t: I had the cheap, folding aluminum kind. I liked food I could carry under my arm, like baguettes, or closed containers of yogurt. A backpack or fanny pack is helpful for utensils and small things like apples. I’m sure you, Dale and John will devise some ingenious workarounds and if I remember anything useful, I’ll chime in again. P.S. France was wonderful.

    • You are back .. yay. i am so looking forward to hearing all about it! and pictures and the paintings and the food! we missed you! c

  44. I found your blog because yu subscribed to mine. thank you for that. Your “Old codger” sounds wonderful. And yes, I am living in NZ having made it my home for about 40 years and having been a citizen for about 25 of those years. I look forward to reading more of your posts. 🙂

  45. I love this post. Thank you for referring us back. In a grab-and-go world it helps to hear about family stability and a connection with the land. This part set me thinking about what I’ve missed: “Safely back home in his parents house on his grandparents land with their furniture, his hundreds and hundreds of books and his ancient computer. This is not a home one leaves easily.”

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