Old People Are So Cute
No matter what type of clowning it is, I love it and I always go for the gusto when I am clowning. When the Activities Director at the local care home asked Pom Pom to come and entertain for the patients and residents at the hospital during their “Circus Celebration Week,” I agreed. She explained that there would be various contests for the residents to compete in, and I was to judge them. Also, I was to "do my thing," and clown with balloons, props, gags and whatever else I had.
Before the day arrived I thought a lot about the residents, (they are very elderly) and what they might like to see and hear. Then on the day of the show I brought a variety of things with me. I had a CD of Benny Goodman music, and another big bands CD that I thought they'd like to hear. I also had my other kid friendly CD's on hand that had some rockn 50s music and some silly fun tunes. I also brought a bunny puppet that pops out of a hat, and a remote control car as well. Plus, I was planning on making balloon animals and hats for everyone.
Show day arrived and I was there with my supplies in tow. The very excited activities director, Sami, met me in the hallway and directed me to the open seating area where the residents waited. I could tell Sami was excited because she is Asian and her accent makes her a little difficult to understand. When Sami gets excited about something she is impossible to understand.
Sure enough, to go along with the Circus Week theme, some, but not all of the residents, had been made-up to look like clowns. They were all very cute. How I wondered, would I ever be so bold as to judge these sweeties?
One cut-up clown, Susie, even had a metallic mylar wig on! She was so funny. It was like she was a kid again. A few of the residents were even a little leery of me just like a child might be.
The "contestants" lined their wheelchairs up in front of everyone, Sami decided that I would judge each resident's a talent along with their funny faces. Each clown was asked to tell a joke if they knew one.
Well they all knew one all right! A couple of the hopeful knew several and one of the clowns had not yet heard that it is politically incorrect to tell ethnic jokes. I searched the crowd for Sami's reaction to the joke that was aimed at her particular ethnic background but to her credit she seemed unfazed. I was slightly embarrassed but I guess Sami had a tolerance where the dear elderly were concerned. I continued on down the line listening while each told their own style of joke or riddle. One old gentleman told his joke incorrectly giving a punch line that didn’t make much sense. We all chuckled politely at his attempt but after that, each time there was a pause in the joke telling action this same fellow would shout out a new punch line. I finally judged that that each clown won in their own special category and awarded them all accordingly.
Soon it was time for me to start entertaining the residents. Some of the residents were full of energy, but some just wanted to watch the activities. I put on the Benny Goodman and a few of the residents tapped their feet in time to the music, but one female resident, Susie, and another fellow, Leland (just call me Lee), began to dance and really cut-a-rug. The Benny Goodman CD played out and I thought I'd try some of the kid's music I had brought. I had a few rock and roll hits and when I started up that music many more of the residents began to dance. I danced with them for a while but soon I had to stop, I was tired out!
I started to make balloons and the residents were again just as pleased as children to receive a special balloon made just for them. I left the care home that day tired, but feeling great about bringing some fun to those good people, seeing their faces light up and being surprised myself by their sincere appreciation for such a simple little thing as music and balloons.