By Vicki Scott
When the George Wallace Senior Center in Glencoe loses one of their own, it is like losing a family member. Heaven gained a spicy angel last week in Ula Hardeman.
The entire time I worked at the center, I dined with Ula every weekday. We pushed her to and from the cafeteria in her wheelchair. I share that because the center was closed during the COVID pandemic, and we were only providing drive-thru meals and home deliveries. Ula cooperated as best she could, until one day she came down to the center on her walker and tried to enter the building.
Along with the center’s director, Pat Hill, I walked Ula back up the hill to her apartment. Ula was grinning from ear to ear while Pat fussed at her. It was obvious that Ula did exactly what she wanted to do and had no regrets.
There was no end to what Ula could do. She had a sharp, witty and unique sense of humor and we all adored her.
My husband Alan and I used to push Ula down the street to Cove Creek Baptist Church, which was located across the road from the senior center. Ula would not let us leave her without a hug, and an “I love you.” I could see this lady being an awesome nurse for 30-plus years. Ula did not hold back in telling things like they were, which is what more people need, especially when their health is at risk. It also gave Ula backup ammunition concerning her own health and physical ability.
One day, Ula wanted to ride in our Jeep Wrangler, and I told her it that it might be a little high to climb up in. She responded firmly with, “I can do more than you think I can.” We picked Ula up in the Jeep a week later, and she climbed in and rode in the front with Alan.
Ms. Ula made a huge difference during her 96 years. For instance, she was very supportive of my writing ventures. In fact, she bought a magnifying glass so she could read my articles in The Messenger every week. When caregivers were hired at the center, they read my articles to Ula. I wish she could read this one. When I last visited the center, I noticed they laminated copies of my articles for her. Ula certainly knew how to tug at my heartstrings!
In one of my articles, I wrote about Ula being summoned to kill a snake in the courtyard of the apartment unit where she lived. Ula promptly went out outside and killed the serpent with a hoe. In my article, I wrote that Ula had a person on each side of her keeping her steady. The day the article came out, Ula informed me that no one was on either side of her and that she killed the snake with no assistance.
During one of Ula’s birthday parties, her daughter Pat told us about her mother repeatedly reminding her not to hang her clothes on the posts of her bed. Ula had had enough one day and sawed the posts down to where her daughter could not hang her clothes on them.
When I mentioned the above incident to Ms. Ula, I started with, “Guess what your daughter told me about you?” Ula asked if it was about the watermelon.
“I don’t know, but I want to hear about the watermelon, too,” I said.
Ula proceeded to tell me about when she bought a watermelon that was not good. She took it back to the seller, who informed Ula that he would compensate her for said watermelon. She proceeded to take a knife and cut all of the other watermelons that he had for sale until he eventually gave in and made things right. This story reminded me of the Medea movies in that Ula had the guts to do what I could only dream of doing. She definitely did not take any junk!
Ula’s mind was sharp, and I loved to see her face light up when we Alan and I would visit her. She would push me to the side for Alan to give her a hug, which I did not mind at all. It confirmed that I made a good choice for my life.
I bet Ula’s face lit up last week when the Lord called her home. She probably ran in with no need for a walker or wheelchair, as well as no regrets. This is the picture in my mind of that day of glory for Ms. Ula, and I will treasure it and look forward to the time we meet again. I’ll bet that we’ll enjoy some awesome watermelon!
I praise God for having known you, Ms. Ula Hardeman, if only for a short time. You’ve inspired me more than you realize, and I miss you and love you so much! I would ask you to keep Faye straight, but then who will be watching you?
Vicki Scott may be contacted at email@example.com.