Chats With Dad
I've been trying to call Dad everyday, since his assisted living community went on lockdown, way over a month ago. He never has much to talk about, because nothing is happening in his world.
Not much is happening in mine either, so we talk about the past. Good things... like picnics, in 1973. Dad is 91. We need a vaccine soon, so we can go on another picnic!
We never talk long, and I do most of the talking. I ramble about when we lived in Michigan or Florida or Iowa. He laughs at my stories.
I've been watching plenty of old movies on TV and they remind me of lots of plays that Dad was involved with. It's actually pretty nice being able to ask questions about different shows, that I have only vague memories of.
Dad's Younger Years
But when my questions go further back, Dad gets more talkative.
He tells me about his Dad and the banjo he made from a cigar box. "Where is that now?" he wonders. He talks about his mother, driving his brother Gene to Arizona for college. "For his asthma." Dad tells me. I never knew Uncle Gene had asthma or Uncle Bob played trumpet.
I also didn't know that when Dad was teaching at U or Arkansas, he used to come home at lunch and play chess with my mom. I told Dad that I remembered my very first chess game...
Zoom with Dad
Yesterday, I got a text asking if I was interested in having a Zoom call with my dad. I didn't have time to plan or fret or worry about how odd this would be, to see my dad's face and for him to see mine. We're used to chatting on his landline.
But I jumped at the chance. I answered the invite and immediately felt comfortable talking with staff member, Chris. She wore her mask and chatted with me, before taking the ipad to my dad's room.
Poor Dad had no advance warning and seemed a little confused. Chris left her sanitized device, in Dad's hands and he fretted a moment. "What are they doing with this film?" I explained. Then I had him rotate the ipad, when I realized he'd been seeing me sideways for 5 minutes. Then I took him on a house tour!
I showed him the Sicilian Knight that our family bought in Italy 50 years ago. I held my cell's lens to the knight's face and I could hear dad laughing. He remembered the crazy puppet.
I "took Dad" into the living room and teased that I might play piano for him.
Instead, I showed him my favorite photograph, displayed on top of the piano. Dad knows the whole story of this wonderful picture of Grandma, when she was a child. The photo shows a scene in a silent movie. The crowd is gathered around my grandmother. Her character had just been hit by a car.
Then I stepped outside and showed Dad the palm trees, with their rustling fronds.
I pointed the camera towards the pool and asked him to help me spot some June bugs. I told him that my quarantine boredom has led to lots of bug rescues. He laughed and told me the pool needed cleaning.
So that was a first! We both laughed a lot and Dad admitted it was a lot more fun than he expected.
I'm so grateful that the assisted living staff has worked to connect their isolated residents with family. I'm also grateful that Dad is healthy and able to chat! A month ago, Dad's dear friend from his community, died of Covid. 4 more died after her. I am finally beginning to feel hopeful.
Cancer - Covid
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me.
Coronavirus and Cancer! Both are evil, but neither can totally get me down... if I vent! I hope with Covid, I run out of complaints before 200!