Better than a dozen roses.

The weekend was perfect for so many reasons. First, Leslie orchestrated a tea party Saturday on the porch at the end of the corridor where Peter lives. Grandson Miah was the surprise guest. What a treat all ’round.

Then, on Sunday, I organized a walk in a favorite park for Peter, Nobby and me. My husband actually remembered having been there, “Once,” he said. I told him we’d been there many times over the years.  “Many times?!” he asked with raised eyebrow. He shook his head. Nobby remembered too, romping as if he were still a puppy instead of an old fellow of ten.

As we meandered back to the car, Peter lagged behind. I kept glancing over my shoulder to make sure he was following — he has a history of getting lost or hiding to scare me. When he caught up, he held up a bouquet of maple leaves. “Would you like to have these?” he asked. His eyes twinkled and he had sweetest smile.

Would I ever!” Thank you,” I said and took his hand, something he usually hates. He actually leaned in to kiss me but knocked both of our caps askew. A laugh, a kiss and a bouquet on a beautiful orange and red afternoon. Better than a dozen roses any day.

I took the scenic route back. Peter laughed when I said I thought we were lost. “You never get lost,” he said, and indeed I don’t and I wasn’t lost then. Then I told him I was more worried about being low on gas. That really made him laugh because he remembered how much I hate to pump gas.

When I opened the door to his room he looked shocked. The space was unusually tidy and the bright potted mum in the window glowed in the sunshine. “Is this where I live now?” he asked. I nodded. “Good!” he said. He took his jacket off, tossed it on his bed, and gave me a hug.

I tuned his tv to a soccer match, parked him in his chair, and headed home to put my fanciful bouquet in water and reflect on the glorious autumn weekend.

Outside looking in, Nobby seems to approve my maple syrup “vase” and fetching bouquet.

 

2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist. 

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?”

“Yup.”

“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