Cards helped Clovis have happy birthday

Arnold Dyre

A Commentary By Arnold Dyre

   Clovis made it to 98!  Monday was his birthday!
   For at least a week prior to his birthday, Clovis had been receiving birthday cards from GrenadaStar readers. After the first couple of days of cards showing up in the mail, Clovis really started looking forward to each day’s mail.
   At Sunnybrook Estates Retirement Center where Clovis lives, post office-type mailboxes are in the lobby next to the office. In the lobby, they have a green flag that is displayed when the mail has arrived.
   Early on during Clovis’ residence at Sunnybrook, he learned the significance of the green flag and would look for it before going to lunch and as soon as he exited the dining room after lunch. Clovis generally likes to handle the mailbox key himself so, even after he began to lose some of his mobility, he seldom turned over his mailbox key to anyone else. Clovis changed the rules when he started taking most of his meals in his apartment and riding a wheelchair.
   Then, Clovis would pester anyone coming up to his room on third floor to find out whether the mail flag was out or not in the lobby. Each day, as soon as he was able to determine that the flag was out, Clovis would dispatch his sitter to the lobby with his mailbox key.
   After the birthday cards began to arrive, the process intensified considerably. Renata, his “main” sitter, whose name Clovis can easily remember because it sounds similar to Grenada, reports that he has been sending her downstairs three or four times a day to check the mail.
   When I was there on Sunday, Clovis was fuming that the mail had not arrived yet and had to be repeatedly reminded that mail does not run on Sundays. By Sunday, he had received 27 birthday cards!
   I am writing this article on Tuesday in preparation for making the deadline for publication in Friday’s newspaper.
   Yesterday, the day of Clovis’ birthday, I was absent from Sunnybrook. Clovis had gone to great lengths to inform me that he absolutely did not want a birthday party and would not participate in a party if anyone gave him one. I took him at his word and did not have anything to do with the party that he ended up having.
   On Monday, I was on my way to Batesville to participate in a book talk event at the Batesville Public Library when I got a call on my cell phone from Clovis, telling me that Chip Reynolds from Congressman Greg Harper’s office, had “thrown” a birthday party.
   Clovis advised that it aggravated the hell out of him, but that he had acted nice and ended up enjoying it.
   Clovis said he was calling to tell me that he should have let me be involved in his party, and that he had missed me not being there. Then, he told me about the birthday cards!
   Clovis told me, “When the mail came, I had more than 50 cards from folks who read you in the newspaper!”
   Clovis was anxious for me to get back and come out to read all the cards. I told him that I would be late getting back from Batesville, and it would be the next day before I would see him.
   He was full of himself over the cards and even had to read some of them to me over the phone.
   When we were talking on the phone, I reminded him that Ole Miss would play baseball again on Tuesday. He wanted to know if I was coming to watch the game with him. I told him that I was, and that the game would be played early rather than late like the game we had watched on Sunday.
   Clovis said, “Well, come and have lunch with me up here in my room and, when you come through the lobby, check to see if the mail flag is up because I bet I get some late cards!
   Thank you, folks from Grenada, Duck Hill, Holcomb, Gore Springs, Coffeeville, Calhoun City and even other places farther away for sending Clovis the cards and for reading my column.
   I hope Ole Miss will still be playing baseball when this hits the newspaper!

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