Last week I stopped by the Post Office and my neighbor from down the road was there. He was finishing up some business. I bought my stamps and then gave him a hug and asked how he is doing. He is 83 and had been in the hospital recently with pneumonia. He lost his wife to cancer a number of years ago, so we talk to him whenever we can. His response to how he is doing was "I'm doing great now - do you have time for a cup of coffee?" Well this is not like him at all to ask me to sit down and visit with him, so I figured he must need a friendly ear. I was on the tightest of tight schedules... so I smiled at him and said "sure" (so what if the schedule is screwed up).
So we sit down with our coffee and he starts talking:
Don: I didn't want to say anything but now that I have my life back, I want to let you know...
Me: What is it Don? Let me know what?
Don: Well you remember when I was in the hospital with pneumonia? I talked to you when I got out? I was embarrassed to say anything...
Me: What are you talking about Don... embarrassed about what?
Don: Well Doug (his son-in-law) picked me up at the hospital and took me home. Next day I went to the Post Office to get my mail and my box was locked. I couldn't get in it at all. So I asked the postmast what was going on. He was very embarrassed and showed me papers that showed Doug had power of attorney. He had me declared incompetent while I was in the hospital
Me: He what!!!!!!!!!! (This man is the sharpest 83 year old I have ever known.)
Don: Yep. I couldn't write a check, use a credit card, get my mail... he had total control of me.
Me: How is that possible?
Don: Well it seems in the great State of Missouri that a person can be declared incompetent if someone says so and one Dr. backs it up.
Me: Oh man... What did you do and why didn't you tell us?
Don: I hired the best lawyer I could find. I was embarrassed. i didn't want anyone to know until I got it sorted out.
Don: There is one rich lawyer out there now and I have my life back. I still have a lot to do today. I want to check my lock box at the bank and see if he took anything from it. I have to get my credit cards reinstated. And I have to get my life insurance policy changed. The name of Doug will be removed as beneficiary of my $100,000 life insurance policy today. I'd better not die between here and the insurance company... I've already changed my will.
Me: Wow, you would think you could trust family.
Don: Well, I want you to know he isn't family. He is Arlene's (his late wife)daughter's husband. He is nothing to me.
Me: Why did he do that? Do you know?
Don: He thinks I was spending his inheritance frivolously. I bought a CAT (big machinery) for $20K, a wood splitter, and a tractor recently. All of which I've never gotten to use because it is at his house. And I'm buying CD's for college courses that are not accredited. I'm learning about Anthropology right now - do you want the CD's when I'm dong (errrrr not really lol). He thought that was a waste of money. And my lady friend's daughter was in an abusive relationship and I paid the $1200 fee for a lawyer.
Me: It's your money...
Don: Damn right it is. And he won't see a dime now!
Me: Did he use your credit cards?
Don: I hope so. I have no problem turning his name into a number.
Me: I'm glad you have a lady friend.
Don: Well we are just friends. (then he kinda glanced down....) This thing wouldn't work even if we weren't just friends... I sure wish I was 30 years younger. But if that was the case, I'd be running after you....
Me: LOL I'd probably let you catch me.
Don: I just wanted to let you know what has been going on. Tell the Mr. he is a lucky man. I may be crazy, but I'm not senile.
So I hugged him and headed out, thinking just how crazy life can get at times. I called him today to invited him to join us for Thanksgiving. He replied that I was the 4th person to call and holidays were family and he wouldn't come. I begged and he wouldn't... He's quite a guy. I want to be like him when I'm 80.