There’s a certain understated grace that radiates off Anne King, a seven-year resident of The Trace in Covington, Louisiana. It’s reflected in the way she answers questions, the way she handles the frustrations of fellow residents, and the way she is able to express incredible objectiveness about the gratitudes of her life. Spent 15 minutes on the phone with this 87-year-old Louisiana native and you’d never guess that she wears two hearing aids and is legally blind.
“I’m legally blind, but I have some limited vision,” the 87-year-old King says. “People that know me here don’t think I have a sight problem because I use the walls and the bars to manipulate my way to where I need to go.”
She has taken the loss of her sight and hearing in stride, because she had it when she needed it most.
King moved into The Trace with her husband in 2010 when he was suffering badly from Parkinson’s disease.
“When we moved here, I was fine, and God blessed me with sight and hearing to take care of my husband,” she reflects. “He was wheelchair bound and I walked him twice a day in the parking lot because it was safer than the street.”
She admits she didn’t initially like living at The Trace because her health was intact while her husband took too it more naturally. That opinion changed dramatically over time.
“I didn’t want to be here at first, I wanted to do my gardening and my cooking,” she says. “That faded away as I went down physically. I’m very comfortable here now.”
King is able to see the give-and-take of the world more easily than most.
“When I hear complaints, I try to calm down the person doing the complaining,” she says. “I tell them, I don’t have to plan meals, serve them, or clean up after them here. I just have to come, be patient, sit down, and be served this wonderful food - that’s a great blessing.”
A native of New Orleans, King lived in the Crescent City until she was 22 when she and her husband moved to San Francisco as part of his military service. The pair returned home and moved around the state before buying their dream home in Kenner where they lived for 37 years.
From there it was on to Covington’s Crestwood Estates, during which time the now-retired Kings started giving back to their community whenever possible.
“We did youth ministry at St. Tammany Parish Hospital up the hill from us,” she says. “We would do ministry with the patients on Thursday mornings and volunteer the rest of the afternoon. My husband was an escort pushing wheelchairs, and I worked in the gift shop for more than 11 years.”
The irony that her husband pushed wheelchairs for years the ended up in one is not lost on King, nor is the fact that she was once caring for others, only to now be the one being cared for.
“My husband was giving that blessing to others for years, and then I was able to give it to him,” she says. “We built many wonderful friendships and were blessed with the opportunity to bring comfort and companionship and fellowship to the patients. And now I’m being rewarded with that same blessing here.”