Sometimes smiles are upside down.

“Any news from upstate?” Peter asked, as he always does at dinner.

He was disappointed when I shook my head.  “But Carolynn and Robin are coming this weekend,” I said, in attempt to cheer him. “Sam will be home too.”

He perked up. “Ooo, anything I have to do?” If he had a tail he would’ve wagged it.

“You did what you had to do today.”

“What did I do?”

“Got your hair cut so you’ll look handsome.”

“I always look handsome,” he said.

I rolled my eyes. “More handsome,” I said.

“Really? That was today?” his face, scrunched in disbelief, resembled a cabbage patch doll.

I nodded. “Afterwards, we went to Our Daily Bread for coffee.”

“We did? What did I have?”

“Your usual…”

“What’s that?”

“Apple turnover and coffee.”

“Really? That was today?”


“I’m getting worse, aren’t I?”

My smile turned upside down.

“But I know what to do when I’m doing it,” he said.  “That part of my brain is OK. I can talk to the people at the…the…places where we go…I forget where…with Nobby…I just can’t remember when I did it.”

“You, Nobby and Bill go every Tuesday afternoon, and every Wednesday morning,” I said.

He shook his head and stared out the window. “But I remember you! And Nobby! That’s good isn’t it?”

“Mmm-mm,” I said.

“Any news from upstate?”

Carolynn and Robin will be here by dinnertime today. Peter will be glad to see them and will do his jolly, welcoming thing, but he’ll say I didn’t tell him they were coming.

Header photo: Family beach vacation that Peter doesn’t remember. 2011.

2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist. screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-14-53-am



8 thoughts on “Sometimes smiles are upside down.

  1. It is so interesting that he realizes that some part of his brain is functioning, and some not so much. Must still be so frustrating to him. And wonderful that he knows that he does remember you and Nobby.

  2. This one touched me the most. I remember Mom saying, “This disease is awful.” “Why?” I asked. “Because you sometimes have enough mind left to know you aren’t right.” Then she pointed to her head.

  3. We are here…and no matter if he remembers or not, he is my beloved Poppy. Now how many ways can we spoil you rotten Mother Tough?!

  4. Hope you have a good visit and get a break. Pete is getting worse and I guess it’s good he recognizes that, although he won’t remember that thought by now. Hang in there girl and call whenever you want to talk…

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