Medical Alert


by my mother, Lila Steele Judd

I am an old lady and I have lived in an old house practically alone for the past 25 years. Not only am I old, I am also a coward of the dark. I have shivered out a lot of frightening experiences here. It hasn’t bothered my children much until I fainted the other morning and my head knocked a hole in the bedroom wall. Of course, I have fainted before, but never have I left the evidence so plainly marked. This time they were sure I had fainted and it wasn’t another one of my pipe dreams.

My family was pretty worried for fear they would be accused of neglecting their duty, and they got together to decide what to do with me. One of my granddaughter’s husband’s grandmother had just purchased an expensive medical alert system for her, so my family thought that would be the thing to get for me. Here’s where the smooth-tongued salesman comes into the picture.

First, I must tell you about this old house of mine. I have a brother, almost as old as I am. He is a dreamer, but not one that just dreams, he does something about his dreams, much to the exasperation of his wife. Now he wanted to build some storm windows out of plastic, but no way would she let him put these storm windows on her house. I had decided to put storm windows on my windows, and there was his golden opportunity. He decided he would put them on my house. Well, the house was old, and I decided it wouldn’t hurt, so I told him to go ahead. He labored for weeks getting those big frames covered with plastic to fit into my long windows. They fit tight alright, and when it rained it sounded like the natives pounding out a battle cry. Time passed, and we had had very few storms heavy enough to cause any disturbance. I had almost forgotten about the noise.

Now we will go back to the salesman, and what a salesman. He could have sold refrigerators to the Eskimos, and my family were an easier mark than that. Before I knew it they had me fitted out for any occasion. I had a regular alarm system in my bedroom and a chain resembling a dog collar around my neck. The chain was plated with gold no less.

Saturday night the salesman called me and said that everything was set and wanted to know if he could come over and give the system its final try. Well, I was still up, so I thought what the heck, and I told him to come. He came over and brought his little boy for company. Then we went through all the ceremony and checked back with the operator to make sure that I knew what to do. The stage was set, and he left wishing me luck and hoped that I would never have to use it.

Saturday night passed without incident, and I felt so safe and secure that I even wore my gold chain to church, just in case someone should ask me about it. Sunday evening came, and Jeniel came down and visited with me for a while. We got into a discussion about religion, and after she left, I stayed up and read for quite a while. Never felt so safe in all my life.

As usual, I woke up about 3 o’clock to go to the bathroom. At this time I heard a car turn around on the road and the lights flashed through my window. Seconds after this there was a commotion outside, and it sounded like someone was tearing the plastic off my windows. No I thought, this can’t be happening to me so soon after getting the alert system. I stood rooted to the floor wondering what I should do. Then I thought of the System, and I mustered all my courage and the alarm box started to sound off. The sound was very loud, and I thought that will surely scare the intruders off, but the noise continued, so I mustered up enough courage to peek out the window.

To my surprise I found that it was only a storm, mostly hail, pounding on the plastic windows. My kids will kill me getting them out in such a storm, so I hurried and called them. Grant was up and almost dressed and Ira was having a time trying to find his shoes. When I told Gayle about it, she called to Ira and said, “Get back in bed Dear, it was a false alarm,” and then she started to laugh.

I’m a little worried about the System now. Why did it take so long for those two to get down here? I could have been carried away, and my whereabouts would have been just another mystery.

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