Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"What time do we eat?"

Well, I started piecing together my quilt and it's going well.  I have four little quilt blocks all sewn together, and the rest are waiting their turn.  They'll have to keep waiting till we get back from our trip to Minneapolis and Chicago.

So in the mean time, I wanted to share a little bit with you about someone I miss.  Someone who pops into my head every now and then, and whenever she does I always smile.  Her name is Roberta.

Before my days as a piano teacher/amateur quilter and seamstress, I worked as a Life Enrichment Manger (still not 100% sure what that is) in a senior community.  I got to spend my days visiting with and helping the residents with dementia (Alzheimer's, etc.).  These are "my people".  I love them.  Various memories and anecdotes may find their way into this blog occasionally, like today.

Back to Roberta.  Roberta repeated herself a lot.  Probably the phrase she repeated more than any other was, "What time do we eat?"  Sometimes at intervals of 15 seconds or so, sometimes while she was eating...always demanding an answer.  Somehow, by the grace of God, this was endearing to me.  I couldn't get frustrated with her.  I felt a strong connection with this woman who loved to dress in red.  She was a bit of a pistol, and I loved her.  

Next to her constant inquiries about the time of our next meal, the only other request she made was for her lipstick.  "Where's my lipstick?  I need some lipstick."  Again, repeatedly.  But how could I refuse?  Even when it was clearly smeared on her lips already.  So, off we would go to her room to look for a tube of lipstick.  If it wasn't in her bathroom, then I would rummage through her coat pockets lined with old kleenex and the occasional half-eaten cookie, until I found that precious tube of brightly colored lipstick.  She would always respond with, "Ooooh, it looks so pretty! Thank you, thank you, thank you."  A few times.  :)

In her final days, I relished the moments I could spend with her.  Brushing her hair, painting her nails red, and singing her favorite song to her (to which she always remembered every word):
Show me the way to go home.
I'm tired and I want to go to bed.
I had a little drink about an hour ago
And it went right to my head.
No matter where I roam,
Over land or sea or foam.
You can always hear me singing a song.
Show me the way to go home.

I love that her favorite song was an old drinking song.  Makes me wonder what she was like back in the day.  Here's to Roberta, my old friend.  Cheers!  

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