I now have thousands of digital photos. I have selected the “best” of them to post on my Flickr site or use as a screen saver but most of them remain poorly catalogued on my computer’s hard drive.
Every once in a while I get searching for one that I remember from years past and in the process end up scanning others that bring back memories.
I took this photo in 2001 in the kitchen of my ageing parents when I went for dinner one autumn evening not too long before they moved from their house into a senior’s apartment. My mom was in the mid-stages of Alzheimer’s disease and my Dad’s vision was failing badly. They actually helped each other. Mom could read signs and labels and mail and Dad could then process information in a way that my Mom could not. Symbiosis.
Before dinner, Dad offered me a glass of wine. He asked if I would like white or red and I responded that I would prefer red. He went over to the kitchen counter and fiddled for a few minutes with bottles and glasses, soon returning to me with an absolutely empty wine glass. He looked at it and then said ” I guess I poured you white by mistake”. Judging what you are pouring and into what are a challenge when you are visually handicapped.
Dad then headed out to the back yard with matches and some barbecue lighter fluid to start the barbecue. I offered to help but he discouraged me, saying he could do just fine himself. I crossed my fingers that the poof as the barbecue flamed up would not cause third degree burns. Five minutes passed and no charred father returned so that, apparently, went OK. The meat did not fare as well.
About 20 minutes later Dad arrived back into the kitchen with three little black nuggets that were the remains of the M&M’s filet mignon he had “cooked”. Mom, in the meantime, had burned some frozen peas and carrots onto the bottom of a saucepan on the kitchen stove and was, for the third time, reheating buns in the microwave.
The meal was … memorable.
Mom was disgusted with the quality of the meat and was convinced they should take the rest of the package back to the store for a refund. I discouraged that, knowing that the flames shooting up from the barbecue with a visually impaired cook was more the problem.
After dinner – there would certainly be dessert and tea – Dad asked if I would like some Port. I declined but he got out a bottle and poured a glass for himself as Mom looked on. He had a bit of trouble knowing when the glass was full. Then there was the problem of picking this overflowing glass up with a hand that has a bit of tremor. As you can see, he found a solution.
My parents both enjoyed a great sense of humour. We all ended up laughing, along with Betty Boop and Jean Chretien who are looking back from the fridge door.
Mom has since passed away. Her Alzheimer’s disease gradually robbed her of all recollection and significant interaction. A sad decline for someone who was very social. Here is another blog page I wrote about Mom last fall. http://wp.me/p2wvIq-i7
Dad has become more handicapped with his vision but still goes strong at 93. Earlier this year he upgraded to a faster internet connection so he could join “the Facebook”. This is proving to be a challenge, though, as he has problems seeing posts and navigating on his 25x expanded desktop screen where the mouse arrow is often nowhere to be found.
In August, he is heading to the East Coast with my daughter and two of his great-grandchildren for a beach holiday. And likely a gin and tonic or two. More memories in the making, no doubt.