97-year-old Maxine gets a birthday parade in New Underwood

NEW UNDERWOOD, S.D. — The pandemic is causing hardship for not only those battling the disease, but also those whose lives have been upended due to the virus.

Many in the elderly population have been secluded in order to keep healthy, suggested by many to be high risk, but in New Underwood, a group gathered outside of a nursing home to make a special lady’s birthday even more special.

“I‘m still in a daze,” says 97-year-old Maxine Schoenhard.

All eyes were on Maxine as she waved from the dining windows of the Good Samaritan Society to a parade of cars orchestrated by her daughter, Ruth Sikes, for her mom’s birthday.

Karen Brown, who was in the parade, says she was so excited to take part of such an event,

“It’s just a pleasure to be out here today and say help somebody feel better,” said Brown.

“To me, it’s just a warm, fuzzy feeling. I certainly respect and feel badly for these older people who are locked up in these homes especially right now,” says Don Stover who also took part in the parade.

Maxine has been confined inside the facility since March, and is now confined to her room due to a COVID-19 exposure in the home.

Seeing the parade, however, she was all smiles as friends, family and strangers took the time to wish her well. Ruth says she could not be more thrilled to see her mom’s reaction to the surprise.

She encourages those who can to make time to visit the many who are grieving during COVID.

“Please, people, don’t forget these people in these homes or in the hospitals,” said Ruth. “We can’t visit the hospitals. We can’t go in the homes, but you know what we can do? We can bring joy outside into them.”

As for how Maxine felt about the parade? Her facial expressions spoke volumes.

“I thought it was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!”

She plans to make it to 100.  This year, she is most grateful for being able to leave the chores to others.

“I don’t have to cook. I don’t have to wash. I don’t have to iron. Don’t have to make my bed. What more can you ask for?”

A way to make lemonade out of lemons.

Categories: Local News