Mother is very maternal with small creatures.
There is her doll—which she’s had since infancy—she dresses and poses her differently each day. I point to it; she looks at it lovingly and says, “Poor Little Fella.”
A big, very old visiting dog pads happily down the hallway in Assisted Living. Immediately Mom leans down to pet him. “Poor Little Fella,” she says, scratching his head.
And there are the birds. There is a long hallway facing a garden and lined with two big cages housing four beautiful tropical birds—three in one cage and “Goldie” all alone in the other. Mom greets the birds with shrill chirps and then feels sorry for Goldie, all alone. “I wish they all could be outside the cage,” she laments. “Poor Little Fellas.”
To me this picture looks like Mom’s version of what it would be like to be outside of the cage.
Mom is a gregarious woman—always taking time to compliment people on how beautiful they are—how pretty their clothing is—how nice it is to meet them. So it should come as no surprise that no matter what is put on the table for her to paint, she manages to put a face on it. Here are two examples. The first from last week—her take on pick camellias and the second from last May—her painting of spring flowers—each topped with a face.
Mom and I had our usual Scrabble game with our usual banter but this time she had some new advice. The board was tough and finding a place to make words difficult. Mom had been struggling, asking me if “rot” and “lace” were words.
Then she stopped, grinned and announced, “Sometimes your mind just gets in the way.” Then she made 23 points on the triple.
Mother continues to amuse if not amaze.
When playing Scrabble this week, we had our usual conversation about her soul. She—offering me her soul in exchange for some decent tiles. Me—refusing her offer and advising her that she might need it someday to join Dad in heaven.
This time the conversation took a new turn.
“Well, you could come with me and give me back my soul when we arrive.”
“But Mom, that would require me to die too.”
“Well, maybe you could just visit and before anyone knows what is happening, I could grab my soul and you could run away.”
Then she grinned. “Or we could fight each other for it.”
Did I mention that I got my competitive streak from Mom?”
I haven’t seen Mom in two weeks—first out of town and then a horrible cold. I was about to visit on Saturday but suddenly realized that—with a cold—I could infect everyone on the floor. So rats—no visit to Mom. Today I finally got there. Despite my absence, she recognized me and greeted me with a huge smile. I took two cookbooks with me so she could choose the dessert she wants for her 95th birthday next Friday. One was her old Betty Crocker cookbook, worn and tattered with use. I admit to a fanciful thought that she might recognize it but no dice. She did, however, comment on its age. “It’s old – like me.” As we looked at photos of cakes and pies, she kept repeating, “num.”
“Do you want cake or pie?” I asked.
She adores ice cream so I think it will be pie a la mode
I told the nurses she was turning 95 and they all marveled. “She doesn’t looked a day over 80.”
Here is her painting from last week plus the model.