She and her sister were both in their eighties. Both sprouted thin, curly gray hair, like a baby doll’s hair. Deep wrinkles accented their smiles, foreheads and cheeks. Her left had was twice as big as the right, however, and she held it gently with her free hand.

“What happened?” I asked.

“We were picking blueberries and something bit me! I didn’t see what it was.”

“How are the blueberries?” I asked.

Both their faces lit up as they praised the sweet fruits they’d been picking. I alternated questions about her hand with questions about their property. “Can you move your fingers? What else do you grow on your farm? Can you feel me touching you here? How much property do you have?”

I wish I’d written down everything they said. I asked them what else they picked during the summer, and the older sister began a littany of spring and summer fruits…strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries…and many berries I had never even heard of. Their entire summer was filled with tending the berry bushes in their small yard. It was their third sister who had the big farm.

I reassured her that her hand would be fine, wrote some instructions for elevation, ice and benedryl, then put the siderail down so she could get up and leave. “I have to give you a hug!” she exclaimed as she climbed down from the bed, her short legs barely reaching the floor.

I announced to anyone who would listen, “I got a hug, I got a hug!” It was the best payment one could ever ask for. Well, OK, chipping in to pay those student loans would be nice too. I hope I’m as lively as those sisters when I’m in my eighties!