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That’s ’cause you a hot woman.

January 9, 2013

Engaging in mutually enjoyable activities with Daddy has become difficult. Sleeping and eating comprise the majority of his daily agenda. When not given a reason to stay awake, Daddy will nap all afternoon, arise for dinner, return to bed around 7, reappear at various intervals for a snack, and fall asleep for good around 9. If coaxed he will accompany Mother to the gym and on walks with the dogs. He regularly requests only two things: trips to the movie theater and the adoption of a Maine Coon cat.

While Daddy delights in movies in the moment, he usually doesn’t retain the plot or knowledge of watching the film in the first place.

“Have we seen Lincoln?” he asked Mother three times in 30 minutes, playing the trailer on his iPad.

“Yes, Robert.”

“Oh.”

I find Daddy’s memory loss obviously sad but also fascinating: he doesn’t recall viewing Lincoln at the Movies at Berry Square but still inquires as to whether he and Mother already watched it. Plus, Lincoln is the only movie he mentions. I guess Daddy’s artistic taste and recent memory rely on the proper functioning of different areas of his tangled brain.

Daddy holds his copy of Cat Fancy magazine dedicated to Maine Coons.Similarly, Daddy has been obsessed with adopting a Maine Coon cat for months, never mentioning alternative breeds. “I want one of those Maine Coon cats,” he’ll repeat over and over. Lately he has turned the tables on Mother, who refuses to take in another animal: “Your mother keeps begging me to let her get one of those Maine Coon cats. I might give in and let her,” he’ll shrug, met with Mother’s eye rolls.

Considering Daddy’s Maine Coon mania, I have to say I gave him the perfect Christmas gift: a back issue of Cat Fancy magazine dedicated to the majestic feline. Enormous full-color photographs of Maine Coons skulking through tunnels, lounging on sofa arms and tolerating toenail trims populate the pages. Of less interest to Daddy are the articles regarding the breed’s personality, lifestyle requirements and possible health problems. Every time I passed Daddy in the living room on Christmas, I spotted him either flipping through the magazine or staring at pictures of Maine Coon cats on Google Images. Daddy went more berserk over a $10 magazine than the Keurig coffee maker Ryan and I presented to him and Mother as a joint gift.

***

Timber and I didn’t return to work until this past Monday: I at Georgia State University and Timber at a hospital for her cardiology clinical rotation. In order to properly mourn/fully harness the end of our respective holiday breaks, we offered to do whatever Mother wanted on Friday. Ideas included manicures and pedicures, a hike, or watching Mother shop since Timber and I are broke. However, Mother’s idea of a quality family activity involved gathering sticks and pine cones from the front, back and side yards; throwing them into one of three brush piles; and setting them on fire. Luckily, her suggestion also would keep Daddy out of bed.

While Timber and I left to run a quick errand, Mother and Daddy started three burning brush piles. Daddy tended the largest pile with a rake, pushing detritus into the center so the fire wouldn’t spread. I knew he would have trouble augmenting the fire because the pit remained damp from recent rainfall. As I walked toward him, some old newspapers suddenly started scorching.

“Your fire’s going because I’m here now,” I announced.

“That’s ’cause you a hot woman,” Daddy answered.

Timber wandered toward Mother’s brush pile in the back.

Daddy starts a fire.Daddy’s Carhartt overalls, smoke-resistant glasses and canvas gloves reminded me of childhood when Timber and I pretended to contribute to our parents’ brush pile efforts. We threw a couple pine cones into the fire, quickly grew bored, and then scampered around the yard or across the pasture. The four of us would reconvene for dinner, Timber and I smelling like sweat and cow pies, Mother and Daddy reeking of smoldered debris. Instead of disappearing into the woods with my sister on Friday, I found a basket in the shed and stuffed it with all kinds of shit, dumping it on Daddy’s fire when full.

“Yay Bobbin!” he clapped every time I threw a fresh mound on the pile.

“Sticks better watch it!” I roared.

I froze at the foot of the fire and stared at Daddy’s gloves, which he had thrown on the ground: the cracked canvas, ashes mashed into the crevices. I almost turned the gloves into a morose metaphor for Daddy’s deterioration, hurling leaves and acorns and bark into the fire, screaming about the unfairness of Alzheimer’s. But instead of worrying whether Daddy will be able to build a brush pile this time next year, I enjoyed being with him outside in the fresh air. Pretty soon we stopped working.

We eat our S'mores.

The four of us gathered around one of the smaller brush piles and made S’mores. Our spontaneous S’more party reminded me of a quote on my favorite bookmark:

Don’t wait for the storm to pass. Learn to dance in the rain.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandee permalink
    January 10, 2013 9:26 am

    This is beautiful, Bobbin. And the photos are perfect.

    • January 10, 2013 9:28 am

      Thank you so much, Sandee! You of all people can appreciate the allure of a fluffy Maine Coon. Happy New Year!

  2. Jessica permalink
    January 10, 2013 10:11 am

    This is wonderful! I love reading all of the daddyisms.

    • January 10, 2013 10:13 am

      Thank you, Jessica! My dad has been saying a lot of funny stuff lately, which gives me plenty of Daddyisms fodder.

  3. Timber permalink
    January 20, 2013 10:06 am

    I keep telling Daddy he can come visit when I get a Maine Coon cat, but that’s just not enough! He’s now fixated on seeing Zero Dark Thirty, which he’s already seen…twice!

    • January 20, 2013 10:15 am

      I wish he would remain fixated on seeing Silver Linings Playbook, too. I really want to see that!

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