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.