Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In the Autumn

Alzheimers seemed to be winning the game on this outing. Evelyn sat silently as her favorite CD of  Romantic Tunes from the 50s played in the background. When I turned to ask what she thought of the beautiful autumn leaves, she smiled, but she remained mute.

She had greeted me joyfully. Both she and Comer had looked as well dressed and eager as ever to go on our fast food foray through Charlotte.
"What shall we eat?"  I asked.
"Doesn't matter," said Comer, "Where would she like to go?"
He pointed to Asherel.
"Her favorite is ChickfilA," I said, knowing that Asherel would be too polite to insist on a place, but meanwhile she had been wildly gesticulating to me with a desperate face when the possibility of McDonalds was being bandied about.
"Then ChickfilA it is!" declared Comer. Asherel's face flooded with relief.
"Have any visitors lately?" I asked.
"No," he said, "Well, my son in law brought me to the dentist. Had a cavity filled."
"Oh, that sounds fun."

As we headed out the door to my car, the residents were singing an old hymn.
Evelyn suddenly perked up and sang a line. I joined in and we walked out of the Nursing Home singing about Jesus.
"I think the leaves may be close to their peak color," I said as we drove.
I had researched a ritzy neighborhood we had surprisingly not yet driven through on our year of weekly drives. It was heavily wooded, with lovely mansions tucked among the beautiful orange, red, and yellow leaves. It was the perfect choice for an autumn drive.

Red Sails in the Sunset came on the CD. Normally, Evelyn belts that one out, but she remained silent.
The only thing she had said thus far was when we pulled into the drive-in and Comer said he didn't want french fries.
"Would you like french fries, Evelyn?" I asked.
Comer was shaking his head, but Evelyn had quickly said, "Yes, I want french fries!"
I noticed she wasn't eating them, however.

Comer told me about a bird dog he had once owned.
"It was a great dog," he said, "But I couldn't for the life of me teach it to hunt. Back then, dogs were all trained to be watch dogs. If you walked out in the country, you were certain to be attacked by a guard dog. I would beat them off with a stick. The owners would sit right there and not say a word. They expected you to beat their dog."
"Times have changed," I said, cringing at the image.
Suddenly, we both startled to hear Evelyn's clear voice rising among the lingering scent of chicken sandwiches and fries. She sang, smiling at me as I glanced back. I didn't know the words, though I recognized the song.
"Remember," sang Evelyn.

As we returned to the home, I helped Evelyn unbuckle her seat belt, and slowly lower her feet to the pavement. She stood stiffly and I asked if she had enjoyed the autumn leaves. I held her elbow, waiting for the old joints in her hips to straighten and her tottering balance to settle to equilibrium.
"Enjoyed the leaves," she echoed.
On her seat, was the full container of french fries. It appeared she hadn't eaten any.
"Here," I said, cupping her hand around them,"You can have these for a snack."
She and Comer walked arm in arm up the walkway and through the front door.
I returned to the car, thinking how beautiful the leaves were and how soon the wind and rain would snap their clasp on the twigs, leaving the limbs empty.

Genesis 40:14

14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness

No comments:

Post a Comment