I wrote a short story about some of the meanest women I met while with the Rome Police Department. When I say that I have seen mean ones, you can believe it. Give some women a Saturday night and a few drinks and the meanest comes out of them. The women I am going to write about today are not mean; there is a type of sickness that is their cause.

I ran into this problem with my patrol partner for a very small elderly lady. When I stepped upon the porch I was met by her. She stood about five feet tall and weighed about 90 pounds. She was shaking a piece of broom handle in my face and calling me words that I had never heard before. I made a hasty retreat back to the sidewalk.

I told my partner what I had run up against. We talked for a few minutes, then opened the gate and started back to the porch. The little lady met us halfway with the broom handle and words to match. The daughter finally got her back in the house and quieted down.

When the daughter came back we moved out to the sidewalk where the old lady could not hear us. We were told by her crying daughter that she could not understand what had happened to her mother. We were told that her mother had always been a church-going person but lately had stopped. We left, telling her to get her mother to a doctor as soon as possible.

It was one of those things on your mind one minute, then forgotten when you get busy with other things. The first night we ran across the little lady was soon forgotten.

It was in the middle of a chilly night that we got the second call. When we got there all of the people in the house were outside except the little old lady. She stood at the door with the piece of broom handle in her hand. I stepped up on the porch and she started for me. I began to talk to her. She stopped in front of me and asked, “Who are you?”

Not realizing what I said, I muttered, “Your friend.”

She stopped, looking at me in a funny way. She turned and said, “Foller me.”

I followed her back inside the house. I told her that her daughter had called and asked me to come and help her.

She pointed to a chair and with a quiet voice said, “Sit down while I tell you what they are doing to me.” I have dealt with folks that feel that someone in their family is trying to take their things away from them. The one who does the most for them is usually the one who gets blamed. I watched the daughter’s face as the little lady talked. The hurt showed as she listened to her mother. Fast talking got her quiet that night. There was other nights which kept getting worse as time went by. Her daughter took her to a doctor and got medical help.

I knew a doctor, a good friend, and we talked about it. He helped to shed a lot of light on the situation. I learned how to calm them down, but never found any way to make them believe that their people only wanted the best for them. There were those who made matters worse between them by taunting them.

This is one that I will never forget. I will call her Miss Nettie. Miss Nettie lived with her husband of many years. When she began to show signs of being sick, the husband left her for another woman. She called and headquarters sent me. I talked to her and knew what was happening. I would ride around her house at night and check it. If she was outside I would get out and go talk to her for a while. Miss Nettle was a very sweet person, and even in her state I don’t believe I ever heard any foul language coming from her.

In later years I had to deal with the same sickness in my family. It is one of the most heartbreaking things that can happen to you. You watch as your loved ones fail to recognize you. I found that the only thing you can do is give them the love you have in you.

Lonie Adcock of Rome is a retired Rome Police Department lieutenant. His latest book is “Fact or Fiction.”