Mama was quite talkative, but not in a very good place …

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Yesterday reminded me a bit of how Mama was acting when last she was in the hospital. Incoherent and impassioned sentences that resulted in her appearing either mad or sad, or both.

It was not that I could not get her to smile, it was that I had to. Most often over the last some months, she was smiling when first she saw me. Yesterday was markedly different and left me wondering if her meds were off. Maybe she was just having a “bad day”.

I did not make these observations to any staff person.

Mama definitely brightened when Katherine showed up.

Side not … Women got it going on over men in this area. I expect the nature of carrying the potential to be a mother comes with it the bonus of a natural affinity for the same sex. In my experience, the only natural response to the same sex that men carry is, “Can I take this guy?” Most, if not near all, men quite easily get beyond this initial and most basic response.

Katherine was the highlight of our visit and brought sorely needed reprieve from a less than satisfying visit to that point.

Again… Not fair! Girls always get to be highlight! Ah… that’s OK… boys get to be bad, and not get into too much trouble! πŸ˜‰

Love

Wint

Mama is thriving at OPC …

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Mama was bright/wide eyed and watching a busy room intently when I arrived. She was happy to see me and we had the most refreshing visit I have enjoyed in a good while.

On Sunday, May 8th, I’ll attend a Mother’s Day celebration at OPC. I am going to support the facility (OPC) and family members of other residents. Also, I am going for myself, so I might see her face as fun things happen around  her.  She is so childlike and I do so love kids. Sadly, it is my opinion that Mama will have forgot the whole thing before I reach my truck. “It’s the circle of life Simba.”

Here’s to all you mothers out there. May those around you realize the blessing each of you brought to them, life! Yeah, yeah, men play a part in bringing a child to this world, but it is a bit part at best. They promptly go off, rightfully so, to kill something for dinner, whilst mothers take to the task of keeping the bairn alive til the knuckle dragger drops meat on the kitchen counter. πŸ˜‰

Love

Wint

Mama was in a particularly good mood yesterday …

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Mama was in a particularly good mood yesterday. Routinely I had about to choke she was laughing so long and hard. We had a great visit. The point at which she was laughing the hardest? Buckwheat pancakes …

(Note: this is a condensed version of a longer story I wrote some time back and posted my blog, here: The Day of the Buckwheat Pancakes)

Riding home from church with my family as a little boy we always passed a Pancake House. My plaintive pleas never moved my parents to stop. In hindsight it is plain to see it was not my parents desire to leave me awash in near overwhelming desire, nor were they miserly with their love and gifts, it was their pocket book that pushed us past the Pancake House each week.

In our youth my brother and I spent a good portion of our summers on our grandparent’s farm. Near the end of my third grade school year and summer poised, as we made our way home from church one Sunday my parents promised that if I made no “D’s” report card, we would stop at the Pancake House on the first following Sunday. My summer at the farm that year was filled with exquisite anticipation of receiving a letter from my parents telling me I had no D’s.

Needless to say, my excitement was near fever pitch each time my brother and I rode to town with my grandparents. We passed the mailboxes both going to and coming from town and it was with a mix of hope and caution that my eyes soaked in their mailbox as we made our way to town. It was like Sunday mornings going past the Pancake House all over again! How could God, if there was a God, tease and tickle my soul so ruthlessly?

Finally the day came. All my hard work in school … yes, hard as is to believe for those who know me, I worked hard in school as a boy, especially that year … had paid off! No D’s!!! After my parents gathered us from the farm at the so distant end of summer. I had done it! Pancakes were to be mine!

The gray velour seats in my parents old black Chevrolet gave off puffs of dust as I beat them with excitement when at last that summer came to an end and, my parents, having already collected us from the farm, we were nearing the Pancake House as we made our way home from church. My feelings that day have stayed with me and I reminisce back them when I achieve some current modicum of success in my life. They say, “Success breeds success.”, and I believe them. The day of the buckwheat pancakes was the culmination of determined effort from a little boy who was now reaping the rewards.

Once in our seats, looking at the Pancake House menu brought no relief to my overexcited state of being! In my state of mind, reading through the variety of breakfast offerings was tedious. Not only were there too many varieties of pancakes on the menu, there were pictures of eggs, toast, fruits and such on the menu that were also very enticing. There was French toast! My God! My mother’s French toast was only outdone by her pancakes, which were the best. It was all overwhelming for this little boy.

Once my eyes caught Buckwheat Pancakes on the menu I knew they were what I wanted. I’d never had buckwheat pancakes but my childhood hero, Roy Rodgers, ate them. No doubt it was buckwheat pancakes for me.

Now I know what you are thinking, “Oh no! Not buckwheat pancakes!” Living in 2015, as you were if you are reading this, you know that buckwheat pancakes might be okay for some kind of health nut, but totally not suitable to a young boy in 1960. Who in their right mind would let a little boy order buckwheat pancakes? But let me they did.

When the buckwheat pancakes arrived it was all I could do to get butter and syrup on them before beginning to shovel them in my mouth! At my first bite I learned that reality may not always live up to expectations. They were terrible. I was crestfallen, and I’m sure began to cry.

My father, as was his wont, took pity on me. He took my buckwheat pancakes and gave me his “normal” ones. As with the first pancake out of the skillet, he sacrificed for his child. My father gave so much to me is so many ways, large and small. While his sacrifice to me that day played a small part in my mind at the time, in contrast to its exciting start it was what saved that day and allows it remain as one my favorites.

So ends the saga of the buckwheat pancakes. But days of that type are what formed the values and ideals that I carry as an adult. Such was the impact my father had on my life. He wanted me to be happy and was willing to make sacrifices to ensure it. In hindsight, his sacrifices were often and no less significant than on that day of the buckwheat pancakes.

My father is long dead but he lives on as residue in my heart and mind. May that residue be manifest in the love I give to my daughter, my Squid. Ever be her heart as filled with excitement and joy as was mine on the day of the buckwheat pancakes!

I hope you enjoyed that story. To finish this update, want to know the answer to last week’s clue? My sweet sister Martha Jan! We still use the recipe box she gave us as a matter of routine. The cornbread recipe card is so faded and stained probably only we know how to read it.

Love

Wint

Mama is quite mobile these days!

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She still struggles some getting up to the walker, but once ensconced behind it, she is quite comfortable and gets around really well.

We has a so-so visit as she was seemingly preoccupied in her own thoughts and less likely to follow, and laugh at, my stories. Well you know that made my visit less fun! πŸ˜‰

She did get respond pretty well to my telling of how much I looked forward to coming in the house on my homecoming form school in the afternoons …

One of my fondest memories as a boy was the mild exhilaration I experienced walking from home from school in the afternoons anticipating what Mama would be preparing for our evening meals. While there were disappointments to be certain … Anyone else thinking “liver” at this point? … on many of those days, I walked in to the smell of meatloaf, teen-bean-bake, salmon croquets, etc. So many meals that Mama cooked were plain, simple and healthy, but over the years they, nearly all, became tasty favorites for me. Looking back on it today, I am amazed at the steadfastness in meal prep and general housekeeping required to maintain a household of seven people. To be certain, the girls I know were a big help to her by the time my synapses were able to connect sufficiently that I retain those memories today. In all the years living in her house, even as an adult, I cannot remember her exhibiting frustration, disappointment in her lot in life. As always, she remains an inspiration to me today.

These days I still eat many of those meals, in no small way by way of one a clever, thoughtful and loving gift my Katherine received as a wedding gift. Well, the gift likely has her name, or perhaps both our names on it, but the gift keeps on giving and I have been the primary recipient! The telling of that story is for another day, but I’ll finish with a clue … in context, the giver is neither old nor young! πŸ˜‰

Love

Wint

It’s a party!

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Mama was obviously enjoying her piece of birthday cake when I arrived, but was easily persuaded to go with me, one she oriented herself to who I was. Which I intuit is simply someone who routinely visits. Nothing deeper or more meaningful than that. And for this, I will be forever grateful, as this allows her the bliss of ignorance and no expectations. She is always in such a good mood these days! (Given societal and cultural challenges in the world these days, I could use some blissful ignorance myself!)

Katherine took the photo above and we all had a great and fun visit!

Love

Wint

Might just as well have been draggin’ a stuffed dog behind me …

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Took Jack to see Mama and I might just as well have been draggin’ a stuffed animal on a leash behind me for all the reaction I got from the inmates at OPC! Jack, on the other hand, was fit to be tied! He might never have so many strangers in one place as he did today! Quite exciting for him, no matter the nonplussed reactions he received. πŸ˜‰ Save yourself some hassle and leave the dog at home.

Heck, ole’ Jack even jumped up in a couple of laps, and still go no love!

Mama was doing fine, but complained of the cold once I got her outside. We went back in and had nice visit.

P.S. That’s Jack in the photo above. He’s the one with white hair all over.

Love

Wint

She was smiling when I arrived, and smiling when I left …

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Given her uncertain emotional states, I am so happy when Mama is happy to see me and not saddened by my leaving. This week she was very excited to see me and in such a good place it was quite easy to keep her in that good place and was able to stay in a positive/happy place when I said I needed to leave. Can’t ask more from God than this! For surely it is in His Blessing that these gifts are delivered. To assume anything other, would be a denial of His Evidence in my life!

This week she, as well as those cribbing on our visit, show great interest and amusement from that time Dad threw Barb and me out of the john boat into a snake infested tank …

Barb and I could not have been more than 7-8 years old when this event took place, as evidenced by the fact Dad was still able to pick us up! πŸ˜‰

It was either Dad and Granddaddy, or Dad and Chalk. I suspect Granddaddy. Anyway, for some reason, perhaps throwing us out of the boat was the reason, Dad and Granddaddy took Barb and me onto the tank in the john boat. Keeping in my mind that this is the same tank where Barb and me had, and were, learning how to handle and shoot the .22 rifle and 4-10 shotgun, shooting turtles and snakes! (A yet untold story will recount the role these guns played in our lives as boys and young men. Watch for it!) Well, there we were, out in the middle of the tank, when Dad tells us strip and jump in the tank! It was not always easy to tell when Dad was kidding around, but it was quite easy to tell when he wasn’t. So, in fairly short order we were naked! Jumping out of a john boat is more complicated than it may sound, an so one, or both, of us ended up being thrown from the boat!

Now I must tell you, my recollection is that we already knew how to swim, so the point of all this must have been simple amusement for the two adult men in the boat. At least by age they were adults. By their actions, their childishness was exposed!

Once in the water I was terrified by the depth, and temperature, of the water. While I have no idea how deep the tank actually is, I can tell you , form experience, that the water temperature 5-6 feet down is surprisingly colder than at the surface! This may be why I retain a fear of deep water to this day! I was at once scared and fascinated.

As with so many childhood memories, I don’t remember the ending of this story. Perhaps the beginning was sufficiently traumatizing that it blanked out the rest! πŸ˜‰

So goes the life of Dolores’ boy … Wint.

Love

Wint

Mama was loving that baby!

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Mama was holding her “baby” when I arrived and was as cute as a little kid. As has happened in the past, she also got weepy over her baby at times. It seems the baby dolls are definitely stimulating, but I am not sure I like it all that much. Reckon ups and downs in a day are better than an emotionally “flat” day.

Her sweetness on this day was reminiscent of Dad during his final days. Good stuff!

I witnessed a sweet interaction between Mama and a staff person. Wish I knew her name, it might be Ayeesha. They had been talking before I arrived and she stopped by to say something to Mama and the tender interaction between the two was heartening. Nice stuff for a loving son to witness! I must remember to acknowledge Ayeesha when I next see her.

Hope this message finds you all, especially Linda, doing extraordinarily well!

Love

Wint