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  • by Carolyn Lackey

Find the Fruitcake


Things Meems Said At 4-5 Minute Intervals During Lunch Yesterday And My Responses:

"Have you met your new boss yet?"

(I am unemployed, retired or whatever you want to call it.)

"No, Mom, I haven't. Have you met my new boss yet?"

"No."

chews food slowly. like cud. stares pensively at nothing.

"I just realized that Sue* is pretty."

"Indeed she is!"

*Fictitious Sue

chews food slowly. like cud. stares pensively at nothing.

"I think that Kirk had a Sue doll when he was little."

"He did? How nice."

chews food slowly. like cud. stares pensively at nothing.

"I think they must take turns talking on that machine."

"I'll bet you're right."

chews food slowly. like cud. stares pensively at nothing.

"Which one is the youth director?"

"I'm not sure. Which one do you think is the youth director?"

*crickets*

chews food slowly. like cud. stares pensively at nothing.

"My mother told me I didn't have to eat all of it."

"What if your daughter thinks you should just try to eat a little more."

"Well."

chews food slowly. like cud. stares pensively at nothing.

"I told someone to hush."

I let that one dangle in the air.

chews food slowly. like cud. stares pensively at nothing.

"I get to eat with four cute men."

"That's great, Mom! Four cute men! That's just great."

She has her own table. At every meal a caregiver sits with Meems spooning bites into her little mouth. None of the caregivers are men. None of her fellow diners are men.

For dessert, Meems had "Corsicana Fruitcake" (Collin Street Bakery Fruitcake). For years she has sworn by it's magical laxative powers. I special order them year-round as needed. When Senna and prune juice won't kick in, out comes the fruitcake. We "save it for special" because it's the most expensive option. It baffles me that Medicare doesn't cover Corsicana Fruitcake.

Once Mom's lunch plate was removed, a plate with two thin slices of fruitcake appeared before her. Breaking off small bits of the first slice, I slipped them into her mouth one by one. During this tedious process, I turned to visit with a caregiver for a moment. I glanced back at Mom in time to see her thin, bony hand creeping across the table as if guided by spirits on a Ouija board. This way. Now, that way. She was on the hunt for fruitcake, and the plate was right in front of her big as Dallas. I looked beyond the plate at the pattern of the tablecloth. For a 92-year-old with macular degeneration the blotches of gourds and pumpkins became autumnal camouflage.

Join in the fun. Hush up, gather up four cute men and find the fruitcake.


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© 2017 by Carolyn Lackey

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