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I regularly contribute to the Lynn Wages Yard Maintenance Fund.

April 30, 2012

One of the first mental functions to deteriorate during the beginning stage of Alzheimer’s disease is the ability to manage money. On Christmas Eve night, my father walked around the living room handing envelopes of cash to each of us – a gesture indeed kind but also disturbing. Daddy always has met our financial needs and treated us generously on Christmas and our Birthdays, but never has given us money. Mother accepted her envelope with teary gratitude.

Alzheimer’s sufferers also often contribute large sums to telemarketers. Daddy has started donating to various veterans organizations, particularly for those who are disabled. I am revolted by these groups who take advantage of the very people they claim to want to help. I find it counterintuitive at best and dishonest at worst. Mother recently caught Daddy offering his credit card number to a telemarketer over the phone, and frantically stopped the recitation of numbers before he finished. Daddy seems to remember that giving his credit card number out is inappropriate, and agrees to mail checks as an alternative. I wonder if Daddy’s largesse can be partially attributed to not remembering how much he has pledged and to whom.

Mother brought up Daddy’s newfound beneficence when I met them at Habersham Gardens this weekend. Daddy waited on a bench under the August-hot sun while Mother browsed patio furniture and succulents. Her reaction to a vast selection of Black-eyed Susan varieties is similar to my behavior when I approach the Anthropologie sale rack. I wanted to drive Mother and Daddy to the Varsity Jr. on Lindbergh just a few minutes away, so Daddy could stock up on chili dogs at that location instead of the one in Kennesaw – on their way home but still an annoying stop off the interstate. Sadly, the Lindbergh Varsity has closed. I suggested I sit with them at Souper Jenny for a late lunch instead, and they could score a box of dogs for Daddy’s dinner.

“We mailed in two more pledges today,” Mother sighed while stabbing a quinoa-coated fava bean.

“To who?” I asked.

“Veterans organizations. There are millions of them.”

“Not that many,” Daddy corrected her.

“We have given so…much…money to these people,” Mother rolled her eyes.

“That’s nice of you, Daddy,” I said.

“I regularly contribute to the Lynn Wages Yard Maintenance Fund. The donations are endless.”

“Huh-huh-huhhh,” Mother fake chuckled.

“I would say I support you.”

“You do,” Mother conceded.

On the way back to the car, we passed several flowerbeds.

“Oh. My. Gosh,” Mother screeched to a halt. “Look at this rehmannia.” A clump of pink bell-shaped blooms demanded our attention.

“It’s from Romania,” Daddy said.

“I just love it. I can never find it at nurseries,” Mother ignored him.

“Look at that stump,” Daddy said, pointing to the remains of a tree.

“Ugh. Rehmannia is also called a Chinese foxglove,” Mother continued.

“I mean, the angle on that stump is amazing,” Daddy carried on. The stump admittedly protruded with a postmodern slant.

When our walk resumed, I thought about how Daddy took me to lunch at Souper Jenny a couple times when I worked in Buckhead in the mid 2000s. I basked in sort of experiencing those moments again. Then I pondered Daddy’s comeback to Mother: “I would say I support you.” Considering all of his sacrifices to take care of us, I think it’s time for us to be buttresses for Daddy.

I will regularly contribute to the Robert Wages Mental Maintenance Fund. The compassion will be endless.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Timber permalink
    June 15, 2012 4:39 pm

    I laughed out loud when I read Daddy’s comment about the stump. His comebacks really are funny…if only I were so quick-witted!

  2. June 15, 2012 4:42 pm

    I feel like only you and I find the stump commentary laugh-out-loud funny. Oh well – I guess you have to know Daddy to fully get it.

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