Songs to aging children*

Today the friends and the family of a good man gathered to remember his life.

People met Randall “Randy” Shaeffer and were usually taken in by him.  He was personable, witty and quick of tongue.  However, he lived nearly alone on his island called the Brandywine Hall’s Alzheimer’s ward, first floor.  Randy did not have AD, but he shared the need for 24/7 care.  He was in his 50s and younger by decades than the others.  He was one of a small number able to communicate. Each day brought challenges to keep his wits about him.  I’m sure he looked forward to talking with all visitors.  His island was a little less deserted then. 

Randy knew nearly everyone at “the Hall”.  His self-imposed avocation was to be the fly on the wall.  He kept an eye out, and then he spoke up for the many who could not.  He would tell me about his latest “talking to” from the suits.  I think he enjoyed this slightly naughty pleasure. 

The print media would find Randy whenever they’d visit the hall.  It was a matter of natural attraction (reporters seeking the right story).  His story was one of courage few of us will attain.  The better writers made his humor and humanity soak the pages.  

Randy always had the latest skinny.  Unfortunately it was usually about who had passed.  Sad as it was, it gave us all closure about people who brushed up against our lives.  The usual response was a sense of relief that these folks are now at peace.  

Randall Shaeffer let me know a little bit about his former live.  He worked at F. H. Swisher’s Plumbing for nearly three decades.  He was the same merrymaker there he was at Brandywine Hall.  His former co-workers come into Maxwell’s Hardware and tell me stories with Randy at the core. 

This is the snapshot I’ll leave with you about my late friend, Randy Shaeffer. 

Life dealt a really bad hand to Randy.  In a wheelchair at young age, there were times when he struggled to talk.  His body was always breaking down.  Despite these crushing problems, he’d keep his spirit up and spread good will and cheer to all who ventured to his island and spoke with the “Mayor of Brandywine Hall.”  

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailylocal/obituary.aspx?n=randall-s-shaeffer-randy&pid=173853080&fhid=28394

* song title by Joni Mitchell

 

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