• Last modified 482 days ago (Jan. 26, 2023)


Another Day in the Country

Did you hear that?

© Another Day in the Country

There’s a joke that I used to think was funny when I was 50:”I think you need a hearing test,” says the wife to her mate. “Why on earth do you think I need a hairy chest,” he retorts.

That sounds like me and my ex-husband. Now, I’m the one mishearing things, so I have hearing aids. 

I was in the middle of explaining perspective to my third grade art class when suddenly my phone rang, really loud, in my ear.

I was startled. I wasn’t home, obviously. My cell phone was in my bag, across the room, turned to silent mode.

Then I remembered that when I got my new hearing aids, a technician had said to me, “Do you want to pair these with your iPhone?” 

How handy, I thought. I can now listen to Audible without my ear buds. I hadn’t thought that I’d also hear the phone ring — right in the middle of class.

That’s just one of the creative dilemmas as we age. We can’t hear as we used to, and the tools that we now use need adjustment.

The other evening, I walked into Carol’s house as she was removing something from the oven.

She must have said, “You’ll notice everything’s still up for Christmas.”

She was across the room, turned away from me, and I just caught the last word or so, and I thought she said something about brisket. (Context is important when you aren’t close enough to read lips.)

“Oh, how nice,” I said. “I thought we were having turkey.”

“Oh, we are,” Carol said, handing me a bowl to put on the table. “Why?”

I had to tell her that I thought she’d said something about brisket. We all had a big laugh. That’s the only thing you can do at a time like that, laugh at the dilemma.

Then, sitting at the table, enjoying a complete Christmas dinner in January, I heard a male voice, which I didn’t recognize, say, “Your battery is low.”

My first reflex was to look around. Who was talking? And then I heard it again — in my ear. My hearing aid was talking to me.

My battery is low? I wanted to answer, “For Pete’s sake, I’m over 80. It’s been a long day. What do you expect?”

I must remember to tell the hearing technician when I go to have these things adjusted. I don’t want some fool talking in the middle of my conversations to tell me that my batteries are low.

I know my battery is low. What am I — a Tesla that can just plug into a charge station when I’m out and about? Wouldn’t that be something for the future? Spots where senior citizens can go plug in and get a charge, so that they can get home safely. Sort of like Viagra for the spirit or something — a little extra energy for emergencies.

When I went to California at Christmas, it was the first time that the California crew had seen me sporting my new hearing aids.

I said to Dagfinnr, “Try one on so you can hear what I hear.”

He put one on.

“It just sounds louder,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.

“Now listen” I said as I picked up pieces of silverware and laid them down on the table, crumpled up some paper, banged some kettles, hoping for a response.

“It sounds sharper,” he admitted, “metallic.”

“How about extremely annoying?” I retorted.

My grandson has a file on his computer where he keeps track of what he calls “Weird things Baba says.”

I mean, I don’t think what I say sounds weird, but he does. And he’s keeping a list.

So today I texted him and said, “Dagfinnr, do you have any things I’ve misheard on your list of weird things I’ve said? I’m writing my column.”

“No,” he answered after he’d checked the list, “but that’s a good idea!”

We were coming home from Abilene, my sister and I. It was quiet as we drove.

I was noticing old stone houses in various phases of disrepair. Then we passed one covered with river rock instead of built with quarry stone.

After a bit, I said out loud, “Do you know that rock house back in Navarre?”

Jess looked over at me quizzically. “What bar?”

“Navarre,” I said, a little louder. We broke down laughing.

“Oh, it’s strange where the mind goes,” Jess commented between giggles. “I’m thinking why is Pat talking about a bar and when has she ever been in one?”

That was so funny that I sent myself a text so I’d remember it, if and when I ever wrote a column about hearing aids, on another day in the country.

and clarifications

One reference to deputy Steven Janzen in last week’s edition incorrectly identified his duties with the sheriff’s office. He is a deputy and detective.

Last modified Jan. 26, 2023