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But, Daddy! It’s Bunsen Burner Day!

June 16, 2015

My father averages one shower per fortnight. My mother switched his mattress pad from cotton to plastic to absorb his accidents; he sleeps encircled in urine. I’ve developed a new strategy for goading Daddy to wash up. Every time I visit home on a gift-giving occasion, I pose his showering as Mother’s Valentine’s Day/Birthday/Christmas present. After all, he no longer can shop, let alone remember the date. Below please find a practical application.

“Daddy! Time to take a shower!” I be-bop into his bedroom.

“No,” he yawns.



“But, Daddy! It’s Valentine’s Day! If you take a shower, that’s like giving a Valentine’s Day present to Mother.”

“Oh all right,” he eventually groans.

Any holiday can be used. “But, Daddy! It’s Arbor Day!” –or– “But, Daddy! It’s Bunsen Burner Day!” –or– “But, Daddy! It’s the anniversary of O.J. Simpson’s gripping Bronco race!”

As noted, Daddy doesn’t even leave bed to pee anymore, but rises regularly to consume food and online porn. (Luckily his browser history always contains the keyword “MILF,” and I find comfort in his age-appropriate preferences.)

Mother recently adopted three nanny goats not only to control weed growth in her enormous side yard but also to keep her entertained. (Mother sometimes reflects on Jessica, the pet pygmy goat she adored in the late 1970s prior to having children. The following captions accompany pictures of Jessica in Mother’s leather-bound photo albums: “Jessica in the snow.” “Jessica nibbling a honeysuckle vine.” “Jessica on Easter morning.” One morning Daddy found her in the pasture, brutally ripped apart by wild dogs. Luckily barbed wire reinforces the new goat fence and will prohibit coyote entry.)

Anyway, a third benefit has emerged after the goats’ arrival: Daddy wanders outside twice a day to check on them. He doesn’t remember the goats’ names (Molly, Wallis and Jekyll) or why Mother bought them, but he wakes up cognizant of their existence.

Molly, Jekyll and Wallis

“We have goats,” Daddy recently informed me on the phone.

“I know! I can’t wait to meet them in person.”

“Goats are good to have. They are a great topic of conversation,” he continued.

“Yeah, talk about an ice breaker,” I agreed.

“Some people say they’ve got yer goat.”

“Haha, yeah, what does that mean again?”

“I don’t know, but a goat’s somethin’ you can git.”

I guess Alzheimer’s is a curtain that hangs over my father, growing more and more opaque with time. Luckily a little sunshine still manages to poke through.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth permalink
    June 16, 2015 1:49 pm

    Hey Bobbin!

    It is such a blessing when we get these sweet moments. Those moments are few and far between with Nathan’s nanny now. 👎 thank you for the sweet smile and tear i held back while reading! Love your stories. Keep them coming!

    • June 16, 2015 1:52 pm

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I wish you and your family the best and many continued sweet moments with Nathan’s grandmother. Alzheimer’s — what a drag.

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