Laughs aside.

My husband is nothing if not inventive. Over the past year he has created multiple, novel ways to corral his belongings. He’s wrapped his shirts and trousers in the plastic wastebasket liners, he’s lodged his toothbrush in its plastic container along with six tightly folded handkerchiefs, he’s used the tie-backs on his curtains to bind books together.

Like many residents, Peter packs his belongings to go home, sometimes several times a week; sometimes his room is tidy. He’s stuffed underwear in his shoes, and recently he crammed all of his clothes into a pair of trousers. It looked like the bottom half of a scarecrow, I’m told. If I’d been there I would have taken a picture.

Small items regularly disappear — nail brush, wooden pencils, socks — only to be fished out of his pockets an hour, a day, a week later. One day I noticed he had no sheets or pillow cases on his bed. He’d slept on the mattress with the mattress pad as a cover the night before. Didn’t stop him from sleeping soundly, I’m sure.

Lately, I’ve noticed he often wears two, long-sleeved dress shirts. He isn’t cold, he’ll say, he just forgot he already had a shirt on when he got dressed. One day he was wearing two belts, the end of one fastened to the buckle of the other. “Something’s wrong here,” he said with a silly look on his face.

The clever ways he keeps from taking his medications are not funny, but he’s such an impish personality that he gets away with his tricks almost as often as not. The doctor just increased one medication significantly to curb his too-high A1C. Full blown diabetes is knocking on dementia’s door. That is not laughable at all.

Header photo: Peter enjoys the laughs he creates.

2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist.