It is the holiday season, a time for good food and cheer. It is also the time when people are stressed and tempers flare at the most inopportune time. I was next in the grocery store checkout lane last weekend. an elderly lady and her daughter were watching their groceries being scanned. The elderly lady started slowly bagging the items in their cloth bags. It was obvious the daughter was both impatient with the clerk and irritated with her mother and began admonishing the elderly woman loudly about bagging the groceries wrong. The mother put a carton of eggs in the bag and then was reaching for a carton of milk when the daughter exploded in anger, grabbed the milk and began yelling at her mother and shoving her aside so she could finish bagging. The elderly woman was obviously embarrassed and hurt. It was all I could do to hold my tongue and the checker kept looking at me because he knows I cared for my mother as he is caring for his mother now. The daughter paid for the groceries and again yelled at her mother and began pushing the grocery cart towards the door with the old woman lagging behind. It was, to me, a display of elder abuse and shame. Regardless of how bad a day you’re having for whatever number of reasons – job, home, money and the list goes on. Words matter, no matter how bad a day you’re having a public display that reeks of abuse to someone else is a very bad idea. Too soon that lady will miss her mother and forget how she had irritated her putting a carton of eggs in with the milk. Living in a world of virtual isolation for 9 1/2 years I had forgotten what people are truly like during a stressful season. We are called to a high road to look for the good in others and to be the best we can treating others with dignity and respect.

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