Thanksgiving at “The Home”


I’ve written extensively about my mom. She’s quite a character and I doubt there are very many 98 year old folks who can match her wit and charm. I spent last month in Indiana and visited the nursing home for hours every day. The “home” was a new experience for her and not an enjoyable one. It was a new experience for me, too. But, I got to meet and know dozens of old ladies. There are very few men there, my mom says it’s because it’s a women’s prison. I think it’s because men just don’t live long enough to waste away in one of those places. Whatever, I met mostly old ladies, none as old as mom, and none quite as sharp mentally either. But most were sweet.

So now when I call her I can hear about the latest news and I’m able to put a face with the person she’s talking about. This was mom’s first Thanksgiving “at the home” so I was hoping it would be nice and they would get all the turkey and fixing’s. They did, sort of.

Their Thanksgiving was actually held a week ago, on the 21st. The residence could invite a family guest or a friend to partake of the feast. It was nice because it didn’t interfere with the actual Holiday and friends and/or family could be home for their regular thing. Mom said the turkey was dry and stringy and the mashed potatoes tasted like they were out of the box, but the table setting was beautiful and there were candles and a nice atmosphere. However, all of the residents were very upset about the stringy turkey and they hoped they weren’t going to get more of the same for yesterday’s actual Thanksgiving date. Well, they did.

When I called to wish mom a Happy Thanksgiving she couldn’t wait to tell me about the big dinner. By the way, the main meal is always served at noon. That makes sense, because they can serve a lighter meal in the evening and start getting the old folks off to beddy-bye between seven thirty to eight o’clock.

So, once again they had the dry stringy turkey and boxy mashed potatoes. And a revolution almost started. In mom’s words:

“You’re not going to believe this. You remember Margaret?”

“Yes, mom, I love Margaret, is she doing alright?” (Margaret is one of the many “moderate” Alzheimer patients and a funny ornery personality)

“Oh Margaret is just fine, but when they served that same damn awful turkey you’ll never believe what she did.”

“What did she do, mom?”

“Well, first she yelled, No, No. Then she got up and stood at the table and took off her bib.” (All the patients have a large terry-cloth-velcro bib placed around their neck before each meal)

“Ok, she took off her bib, then what?”

“Well, she laid the bib on the table and then she took her entire plate of food and dumped it on the bib. Then she folded the bib over the food neatly and put it on the floor. Then she stomped and jumped up and down on the bib. It was hilarious. I laughed until I cried.”

“Oh my gosh, that sounds funny. What happened?”

“Well, everybody loved it so we all beat our spoons on our water glasses. There must have been 30 of us playing those spoons for Margaret. It was grand.”

I wished I could have seen it. Margaret has dark hair and I immediately envisioned my own fantasy.Margaret stomping

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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3 Responses to Thanksgiving at “The Home”

  1. fiddlrts says:

    Your whole series on nursing home life is touching. I work with clients in this situation regularly, and it is an imperfect solution – but there are not a lot of alternatives that are safe for everyone involved.

  2. Bee Barmann says:

    What a kick! Such homes all seem to have stories–some sad others as funny as yours. Thanks for sharing.

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