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



Rhubarb! Rhubarb! Rhubarb!

Peter loves the stringy vegetable that is served as a dessert: in rhubarb pie,   rhubarb Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.39.50 AMcrumble, Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.31.15 AMrhubarb coffee cakes, rhubarb compote and rhubarb sauce, to name just a few. And, if you’re English, like my husband, you like your rhubarb sauce with Bird’s Custard.

I love rhubarb too. Our neighbors keep us supplied throughout the season. The final bunch Jeff delivered was last evening’s dessert. Peter ate his right after dinner. When he offered to serve mine, I said I’d wait a while.

After the evening news I went upstairs to take a shower. The shower didn’t take long, but I fiddled around straightening my closet and folding the last of the laundry. When I came back down, ready to watch “The Great British Bake-Off,” I was ready for my dessert. Peter was washing the pan I’d left it in.

“Where’s my rhubarb?” I asked. “Did you eat my rhubarb?”

“Don’t remember,” he said. “Sorry.” Humph, I don’t think he was sorry — he was licking his lips — but I know he didn’t remember!

I can forgive a lot of things, but eating my rhubarb isn’t one of them. From now on, I’ll have to camouflage my portion somehow. I already write our names on bananas, and mark the McVitie’s Digestive biscuit packages “his” and “hers.”

Rhubarb is often paired with strawberries in pies, though there are those rhubarb purists who consider the combination a “rather unhappy marriage.” Peter and I agree with the purists.


Header photo: Local Roots Food Tours, Sacramento, CA
Rhubarb pie photo: Nubi, Heidi Murphy 6/4/15
Other photos: webcam grab