My mother, an Alabama native, was full of stories with morals. Some of them I hear with modern ears.

There was a man, Hiram, in town who was just lazy. From time to time, someone would help him, or get him a job, but his laziness always got in the way. After a while, people gave up on him, because he never changed. He wouldn't stick with anything, and he refused to take any more jobs. His condition got worse and worse.

One day, Deacon Smith was driving his wagon, full of ears of corn, when he saw Hiram lying in a clump of grass by the side of the road. He was emaciated, ragged and dirty, apparently close to the end. Deacon Smith thought he would try one more time.

"Brother Hiram, If you like, I will give you this entire load of corn."

Hiram raised his head. "Is it shucked?"


"Drive on."

To my grandmother's generation, this was a warning of what happens to "lazy" children if they aren't careful. To me, it sounds like the story of a man who seriously needs Prozac and therapy.

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There's another one that is perfect for today's young girls.

Imagine Southern accent.

Betty Sue, standing in front of the mirror, fiddling with her hair:

"Momma, am I pretty?

"BettySue, there's nothing wrong with the way you look."

"But Momma, am I PRETTY?"

"BettySue, you're pretty enough for any decent purpose!"

Dear Jinx, Happy to commisserate with you! Sometimes it's hard to figure out if an elder is really not capable of helping themselves, or if they are looking for sympathy by playing helpless, or just want to be babied and pampered sometimes, or possibly are depressed. It can really be frustrating! My uncle just came out of the hospital (3rd time in 2 months), refused another stint in rehab, and insisted on going home and taking care of himself (I have started arrangements for some home care - SN, aide, and PT). Last night, before I went home, he needed to take off his compression stockings and was having major difficulty with it - so I helped him. Then, I told him he had to wash them and hang them up to dry for tomorrow. He wanted me to wash them - I reminded him that he was the one who insisted that he could manage everything on his own, and I knew he was pefectly capable of washing his stockings, so I told him he should go ahead and do it himself. I try not to baby him - I once again nicely explained to him that I am not being mean, but if I am sure he is capable of safely doing something himself, that I am not going to do it for him.

Have to admit, that's worth a smile. Even with Prozac, some people are just going to lag behind. Would her morality tales be worth submitting to Reader's Digest or Saturday Evening Post? They're good at lightening the mood.

So true, but without a job with healthcare he won't be able to afford the Prozac!

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