Mrs. Simon Praamsma’s Cat Has Been Healed of His Ringworm Problem (and Other Stories)
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HOLLAND, MI Mrs. Simon (Henrietta) Praamsma was sick of sitting home Thursday afternoon. “I usually just watch game shows and knit all day, but I thought I should get out and go shopping today,” she told Chris Adams, clerk at the Bookarama used book store.

Praamsma, 84, who rarely drives anymore, decided to take her ’88 Bonneville for a spin. She wasn’t really sure where she was going. In fact, she has no idea how she got to Bookarama. All she knows is that she found an attentive ear.

Adams, 20, a student at Hope College, was expecting to finish his chemistry homework while at work. “It’s usually not a problem, since not many people come in. But every once in a while you get a lonely old lady like her,” he said, referring to Praamsma.

Praamsma walked into Bookarama at 12:30. “She doesn’t read much, but her granddaughter, Sarah, who lives in Maine—she does. Sarah’s a college professor out there. She married some crazy optometrist, and they have 2 kids,” explained Adams.

During her three hours spent by the counter at Bookarama, Praamsma’s topics ranged from the history of every one of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren—as well as her late husband, Simon (who was a very talented dentist)—to her cat’s problem with ringworm to those contestants on Wheel of Fortune. “She also discussed her award-winning recipe for squash,“ Adams reported.

At only one point during the time that Praamsma took advantage of her captive audience did another customer enter the store. It was a young man, approximately Adams’ age. Adams tried to signal for help—but, after browsing for a while, the would-be rescuer left the store.

At 3:30, Mrs. Praamsma decided—after a lengthy soliloquy about the problem with her toaster—to go to Sears to buy a new one. Besides, her lazy son-in-law will never take the time to fix it. Adams attempted to point her in the right direction, but Praamsma was seen, 20 minutes later, still driving around the empty parking lot.

Though Adams was afraid that Praamsma would never find her way home, she arrived home at the Evergreen Meadows Condominium Village at 6:30. She had not purchased a toaster, but she was eager to tell her friends about the wonderful day she had—and the nice young man she met.

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