THANKSGIVING MUSINGS AND ALZHEIMER’S

TAKING TIME FOR THANKSGIVING

Mable and great grand daughter

Ready to spend Thanksgiving with her great grandmother.

November 24, 2012 — With the cash resisters’ clanging and money drawers’ banging I suppose another Holiday Season is off and running.  Actually the sounds of clang and bang have pretty much dimmed over the years being replaced with a swish as the credit card swipes through the indicated slot for CHARGE and Black Friday begins. Nevertheless, whatever the means of purchase the season for shopping is upon us once again and it encroaches more and more into the national holiday of Thanksgiving.  Some stores actually opened at 12:00 midnight even before the roasting pan had been put away.  But worse, some malls were open the entire day of Thanksgiving with their halls already decked out in the red, green and tinsel tones of Christmas including the Jolly Old Elf himself.  Not at my house — not by proclamation – by choice; been-there-done-that-not-worth-the-hassle realization.  There will be plenty of time for hectic when December gets here.

 RECAPPING THE DAY

It was a lovely Thanksgiving; small in numbers if 17 for dinner is considered small.  As the traditional song of long ago still tells us, “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings….,” and that included a few football games, giggling children, and a visit with Grandpa who sits in his chair surrounded by the ambience of it all, but deep into Alzheimer’s.  

There wasn’t a word mentioned about Black Friday and bargains waiting to be had.  By 10 p.m., with the last dish done, young, old and those in the middle were ready to roll up the carpet, put out the lights, go home and go to bed with no thoughts of tomorrow’s best buys.

Daughter Julie and her husband Tim had visited earlier, spending the day with his parents, and as usual she had baked Potica: a traditional holiday bread from Ken’s Slovenian family, bringing us a loaf to enjoy.  She gave her dad a slice slathered with butter.  “My mother made this,” he announced when a familiar taste unlocked another floating scrap of memory.

As the children arrived I was ready for their high spirits and energy even if the activity only lasted for a little while. Their assignment:  to sit at a table and draw a picture of everything for which they were grateful.  Then later, after dinner each would stand and tell the rest of us all about what they had drawn.  Age group:  three to 14.

DINNER IS SERVED — FINALLY

With everyone bringing their specialty dish dinner preparation is always very easy.  I do the turkey, potatoes, gravy and biscuits.  However, no matter how well prepared there is that inescapable last 10 minutes when the turkey is carved, the gravy’s in flux, everything else is being heated or in the last moments of cooking when it gets a little frantic in the kitchen.  Dinner was finally served not necessarily when planned, but when it was ready, and only those serving themselves the last bit of potatoes noticed they were a tad scorched on the bottom.

 THE CHILDREN’S TABLE

I suppose in most families there is always the classic children’s table.  Graduation to the adult table can be for many reasons and I wondered if this year the two older cousins were ready to advance.  Changed my mind as I noticed the barely teens were still happy playing silly childhood games with the younger ones before dinner.

“Do you suppose the older girls would have enjoyed being seated at the adult table,” I asked Marcia after “grace” when we were all seated?  “Look at them,” she replied.  “They’re having too much fun where they are.” She was right there was more giggling than eating.  It’s comforting to know that in spite of their mod, stylish clothes our teen girls were still children at heart.

BASKING IN THE WARMTH OF GIVING THANKS

After dinner we gathered into a large circle and shared our gratitude one with another and the Almighty.  The children began with their drawings:  Family was usually mentioned first, sports, games, music, friends and the many everyday appreciations from the minds children.  Then it was the adults’ turn to share those things for which they were grateful.  Family first, food and shelter, jobs, friends, good neighbors, spouses, health – – being here with one another — and being able to share special times with those they care about most.  For me it was simple. A woman of faith I am grateful for the Lord’s everyday blessings, for our modest home filled with comforts and even luxuries when compared to many throughout the world.  I am grateful for Ken and his astute planning for our future during our later years.  Who expected Alzheimer’s with its long-term care, but funds were there for the time when I would need help in caring for him.  I am eternally grateful for Ben and Crizaldo, two special men who care for Ken with their gentle manner, kindness and love, and their goodness to me.  Yes, I am filled with gratitude as this holiday nudges us all to take the time to ponder and be grateful for the precious blessings we enjoy.  Even with Alzheimer’s as a major part of our lives there is much for which to be thankful.

For More Interesting Stories About Alzheimer’s and Thanksgiving, follow these links:

Alzheimer’s and the Case of the Missing Turkey 

by Deborah Swiss

Thanksgiving has always been a major celebration in our family. It’s also the season where I was first given hints about the early phases of my mom’s Alzheimer’s. Over the years, I’ve often conjured up unrealistic expectations for the perfect family celebration. My holiday ideal certainly did not include chasing my mother Peg through the park with her plate of turkey. That happened two years ago when Alzheimer’s temporarily transformed her into an escape artist.

READ MORE HERE: Turkey

In Thanksgiving for Alzheimer’s Disease

by Kathleen H. Wheeler

Today is Thanksgiving, and I’ve spent a wonderful day with my family. Try as I might to let the sun shine fully upon the holiday, a shadow has been cast upon the day as I reflect tonight. This was the first year that all of my parents, biological and in-laws, have been absent from the family celebration. Four Thanksgivings have come and gone since my mother died, but my father-in-law was not in attendance this year for the first time because he is in the hospital, his health in a precarious state for an eighty-eight year old. Suddenly my generation is the one responsible for the continuation of our family traditions. READ MORE HERE: Thanksgiving

Originally posted 2012-11-25 07:14:38.

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