Grandma Hattie finally got her eye classes from the optician at the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale. She lives here. I went with her today for her exercise class on the terrace overlooking the Hudson River. Debbie would lead the class in exercises today. We walked to the terrace through the hall in a procession of oldsters, some in wheelchairs, others pushing walkers, and the others walking slow as hell. Grandma Hattie was behind me. “Your hair looks terrible,” she said. “Well your wig looks terrible!” I said it loudly because she needs a hearing aid but won’t wear one. She’s stubborn sometimes I think just to exercise her right, even when it doesn’t make any sense. My grandma and I have a history of bickering, but I love being around her. I see her once a week during good times.
I know the exercise teacher Debbie outside of the Hebrew Home because she visited where I work often. I work at a botanical garden also overlooking the Hudson only a half a mile away from the Hebrew Home.
After Debbie and the nurse’s aids sat all of the oldsters out on the terrace, she started her old people work-out routine. They stay in the chair the whole time. She did arms, neck, hips, legs, waist, and head things. I did them to encourage my g’ma to do them because she had said “I don’t feel like doing no exercising.” But sometimes all you need is a little push, I say. My Grandma Hattie was on the left and there was another old lady Hattie on my right it turns out. My Grandma Hattie is 90 years old. She sat with her hand under her chin for the first round of exercises but warmed up slowly and began doing them. It was warm today, an unnatural 85 degrees. I didn’t like it.
I did the exercises with the oldsters and was worried because I began to tire out. I was relieved when the good-natured exercise teacher Debbie said that she was wearing herself out as well. She huffed out in exhaustion after reps of leg lifts from her chair. I jog and work out, but I’m mentally wearing myself out which helps in weakening my stamina – those exercises went on for a half an hour and damn if I wasn’t through! I wonder if it can count as a legitimate workout for me today…