Lunch and Memories with Dad


I don’t like to take dad out when it is cold or rainy outside.  Therefore we went a week or two without getting out for lunch at all.  But then last week we had a sunny though cold day, so I told dad we would go out for lunch.

Dad didn’t want to wear a coat but I said it was necessary because it was only 40 degrees out.  Dad tends to get cold easily, so I took out his winter coat.  He put on the coat and commented on how nice it was.  “Where did I get this coat?” he asked.  I told him he got it from my friend because it used to be her husband’s.  It is a very warm coat and he loved it.  He did actually wear it last year too but he didn’t remember and I didn’t remind him.

We went to the same restaurant we had been going to lately.  They had new menus though the choices looked the same as before.  Dad reviewed it as he usually does and this time decided to order a Reuben sandwich.  We waited a few minutes for the waiter to come take our order.

When he saw the usual waiter, he ordered shrimp.  I commented that I thought he was having something different this time.  When I mentioned the Reuben, he looked again at the menu and changed his order to the Reuben.  I usually have something different each time, but dad almost always has shrimp.  I was pleased to see that he really enjoyed his Reuben too.

Sometimes when I sit with dad, we don’t say much as dad has trouble hearing, and he isn’t much for conversations.  However, lately I have been bringing him old pictures to identify.  I have a few boxes of old photos that mom had saved from many sources and many are unidentified.  On others, even when I know the people are my aunts and uncles, I don’t recognize the other people with them, or the locations.

Dad is usually able to identify their friends in the pictures.  He also tells me a little about the situation.  “Some friends decided to drive to Canada and the car overheated” he said as we looked at one set of pictures.

Now if I have time I try to bring along a few pictures on most visits.  Dad enjoys seeing them and I appreciate learning who is in each photo.  If I didn’t find these pictures until after dad had passed, then I would have boxes of unidentified pictures.  As things now stand, I still have some, but the majority have been reviewed at least once.

I keep an envelope with me also that is labeled “ask dad”.  Each time a question comes up on photographs, or other items I am working on, I can ask dad to help me understand a situation.  I am working on our family history and dad has a pretty good memory for the old days even though he doesn’t remember recent events very well.

I feel like these days I have with dad are extra gifts that I get for living near him at this time in our lives.  We didn’t used to have so much time together as we do now.  I know that no matter how much I try to anticipate my questions, I will always have more after dad is gone.  But I am very thankful to have these days together.

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About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and the primary caregiver for my father. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with others who are also trying to care for a family member and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues around the care of my father and the relationship with other family members.
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10 Responses to Lunch and Memories with Dad

  1. Janet Yano says:

    It’s funny… I took my dad out today for lunch since it’s supposed to rain the next several days and I don’t like to take him out in the rain unless it’s for a doctor’s appointment. And, thanks for the suggestion on brining old photos to lunch. I have many photos where I don’t recognize the people other than my parents.

    • Dad seems to enjoy this activity and it jogs his memory about the past. I wish I had started this sooner and with mom. Some of the pictures have my mother’s friends and he didn’t remember their names but he knew most of his own friends and both his relatives and mom’s. I bring a “Pigma” pen with me as it is safe to write on the back of the photos with. I use it for the archival qualities. You can probably get something similar at Michaels or Joanne’s or a scrapbooking store.

  2. jmgoyder says:

    I’ve been doing the old photo thing with Anthony too – it’s a great idea. I hadn’t thought of an ‘ask Ants’ list so thank you so much for that idea too! What is a Reuben sandwich?

    • Julie,
      I’m glad to share ideas on what works for me and dad. As to a Reuben sandwich, I don’t like them myself. They have hot corned beef in them and other things like sauerkraut and cheese. I always thought it was a New York city thing, but Wikipedia seems to credit several locations with the origin though it seems to be originated in the USA. There seem to be many recipes online if anyone is interested, but since I don’t care for corned beef and I don’t care for sauerkraut, it isn’t the thing for me ;)

      Though that is the advantage to eating at a restaurant. We can each order what we like and this particular restaurant has a large variety of choices.

  3. Terry says:

    I am glad you take advantage of the time now, some kids do not do this. You are a good daughter

    • Thanks, Terry. I do what I can — though I wouldn’t mind a little help from my siblings. Still, I am glad dad is still able to remember the past and have intelligent conversations. If he gets to the point where he can’t have a conversation or recognize me and my family, then it would be a lot harder to keep up the regular visits and meals out with dad.

  4. kimjoy24 says:

    It’s so wonderful that you have this opportunity with your father to help you identify family photos and learn more about your family history. I’m glad you are able to take advantage of it.

    • Thank you. I am also glad to be able to have this opportunity. Sometimes dad has an off day and doesn’t recognize anyone but other days he will know the people in those same pictures. I am just thankful he is still doing well after all these years.

  5. Sheryl says:

    This post brings back warn memories of some lunches I had with my dad. When we got to the restaurant he’d often say, “You pick. I’ll have the same thing.” I knew that he was feeling overwhelmed by the menu, so I would try to select his favorite foods and then order it for both of us.

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