Posts Tagged ‘home’

Remembering Ice Cream

Posted: November 15, 2015 in Family, Food, Men vs Women, Old Age
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Ice cream with strawberries.

   A Couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. During a check-up, the doctor tells them that mentally, they’re fine. He advises them that if they’re having trouble remembering things, they might want to start writing things down.

Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. ‘Want anything while I’m in the kitchen?’ he asks.

‘Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?’


‘Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?’ she asks.

‘No, I can remember it.’

‘Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so as not to forget it?’

He says, ‘I can remember that. You want a bowl of vanilla ice cream with strawberries.’

‘I’d also like whipped cream. I don’t want you to forget that, so write it down.’ she says.

Irritated, he replies, ‘Dang it, woman, I don’t need to write it down! I can remember it: Vanilla ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream – I got it, for goodness sake!’

Then he ambles into the kitchen and she hears him getting out bowls and flatware. After about 20 minutes, the old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate in disbelief.

‘I told you, you should have written it down, she quips, ‘You forgot the toast.’


Unfortunately, the family eventually had to take grandpa to Happy Valley Retirement Center.

   It was a hard decision to make, but the family finally agreed. Grandpa’s level of care requirements were greater than the family could sustain without disrupting their own lives. Making this kind of decision is tough; it makes you feel as if you’re callous, placing the importance of your own happiness above that of your parent, despite all the sacrifices they made for you in life.

   So the family put a lot of time into finding the retirement center that offered the cleanest facilities, the most varied menu, the most interactive social environment, the most structured activity schedule, the friendliest staff, and the most tender-hearted caregivers. It was no trivial selection.

   The day came that Grandpa was to move in to Happy Valley Retirement Center, and all the family came out. There were third cousins twice removed, and great-aunts by marriage on the father’s side, and grandchildren down to the great-great-great level. It was an atmosphere of celebration, and everyone wanted Grandpa to know they still cared. But eventually they all left, and it was just Grandpa and the staff.

   One of the staff members noticed that Grandpa was leaning to the right in his wheelchair. “Here, let me prop you up with this pillow, sweetheart,” she said as she straightened his posture.

   But then he started to lean to the left. “Well, sugar, now you’re falling over the other way! Let me get you another pillow.” And she put a pillow on his left side, wedging him in the wheelchair so he could remain upright.

   Grandpa sat there a few minutes, then slowly started to slide forward in his wheelchair. “Oh my,” said the nurse, “We’re going to have to do something to make sure you don’t fall out and hurt yourself.” She went and got a restraining strap that, like a seat belt, would keep Grandpa upright and safe.

   The next day, the family came to check on Grandpa. They were sure he would be pleased with his new living arrangement and all the attention the staff would shower on him. “How are you liking Happy Valley, Grandpa?” they asked.

“I HATE IT!” he declared loudly.

“Well, it’s clean, your room is nice, You’re getting good meals. What’s wrong?”

“It’s the staff. They’re mean to me. They’re trying to torture me.” he said.

“What are you talking about, Grandpa?”

Grandpa pointed to the pillows and the strap holding him securely in place, “They won’t let me fart!”

Charlton Heston as Moses, receiving the commandments of God

   The third book of the Bible, Leviticus, is named for the Levites, the sons of Jacob from which the priests were drawn. Leviticus could be described as a manual for the priests as it contains detailed “rules” and “rituals” that ensure God’s approval and harmony between God and mankind. The “rules” are written in an authoritative voice, and repetition is used to aid in memory.

Now here are house rules written in the style of the Old Testament book, Leviticus:

Chapter 1 – Laws Concerning Food

1. Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room.

2. Of the hoofed animals, whole or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room.

3. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room.

4. Of the quiescently frozen desserts and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room.

5. Of the juices, red or blue, or other such colored beverages you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein.

6. Indeed, when you reach the place where the carpet begins, there of any food or beverage you may not eat, neither may you drink.

7. Drink your milk as it is given you, neither put any item in it, nor bread, nor cookie, nor fingers, for that is not what they are for. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not
bite it upon its edge and by your teeth remove the lip or neither hold it to your face and make quacking noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.

8. When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not do so, even if your brother or your sister hath done the same to you.

9. Eat neither eat bugs nor sand. Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food, neither eat the crayon nor the pencil nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your mouth. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is.

Chapter 2 – Laws About the Table

1. And if you are seated at the table, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting boo-boo to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke.

2. Sit just as I have instructed you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have
said, it will come to pass.

3. And though you may find a magic marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why.

Chapter 3 – Laws Pertaining to Dessert

1. For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert.

2. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert.

3. But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert;

4. and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof.

5. And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.

Chapter 4 – On Screaming

1. This is the command of your father, that thou shalt not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time.

2. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling. But I say to you, scream not.

3. Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you, and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain thyself from screaming.

4. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that loud sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even now I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat it myself, yet I do not die.

Chapter 5 – Concerning Cleanliness

1. Do not rub your dirty hands against the walls of my palace as ye go past, for it is not right that you should do so.

2. Press not your finger into your nose, neither remove the substance contained within, for it is a vile abomination.

3. Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes, that I may more easily wash your face. For the stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon. And in the breast pocket
of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still;

4. Hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.

5. Cast your body into the water of the tub that ye may be fully cleaned. But drink not of your own bath water, nor of bath water of any kind.

Chapter 6 – Laws About Animals

1. Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape?

2. Neither throw the hamster across the room, nor drop it in the swimming pool, for it shall not be.

3. Neither chase the bird about its cage, for I have purchased the animals and I shall protect them.

4. Forget not what I said about the tape.

Chapter 7 – Disobedience

1. O my children, you are disobedient. For when I tell you what you must do, you argue and dispute hotly even to the littlest detail; and when I do not accede, you cry out. Yes, and even sometimes do you spit, and shout, and hit and kick the wall and the molding thereof when you are sent to the corner.

2. And though the law teaches that no one shall be sent to the corner for more minutes than he has years of age, yet I would leave you there all day, so mighty am I in anger. But upon being sent to the corner you ask straight-away, “Can I come out?” and I reply, “No, you may not come out.” Yet again you ask, and again I give the same reply. But when you ask again a third time, then you may come out.

Chapter 8 – Concerning Money

1. Hear me, O my children, for the bills they kill me. I pay and pay again, even to the twelfth time in a year, and yet again they mount higher than before.

2. For your health, that you may be covered, I give six hundred and twenty talents twelve times in a year; but even this covers not the fifteen hundred deductible for each member of the family within a calendar year. And yet for ordinary visits we still are not covered, nor for many medicines, nor for the teeth within our mouths. Guess not at what rage is in my mind, for surely you cannot know. For I will come to you at the first of the month and at the fifteenth of the month with the bills and a great whining and moan. And when the month of taxes comes, I will decry the wrong and unfairness of it, and mourn with wine and ashtrays, and rend my receipts. And you shall remember that I am that I am: before, after, and until you are twenty-one.

3. Hear me then, and avoid me in my wrath, O children of me.


Written by Ian Frazier in the article Laws Concerning Food and Drink; Household Principles; Lamentations of the Father. © The Atlantic Monthly, Feb 1997 v279 n2 p89(2). Modified without permission .

A Server at Taco Bell


   That’s what the kid behind the counter at Taco Bell said to me. I dug into my pocket and pulled out some lint, two dimes and an old Jolly Rancher. Having already handed the kid a five, I started to head back out to the truck to grab some change when the voice from behind the counter said the harshest thing anyone has ever said to me. He said, “It’s OK. I’ll give you the Senior Citizen discount.”

   I turned to see who he was talking to. Then I heard the sound of change hitting the counter in front of me. “Only $4.68” he said cheerfully. I stood there stupefied. I am 48, not even 50 yet, still a young man! Did he really call me a Senior citizen? I took my burrito and walked out to the truck. What was wrong with that kid. Was he blind?

   I sat in my truck. I got more and more angry. “Old? Me? No, he’s not getting away with this,” I thought. I got out of my truck and went back inside. I walked up to the counter, and there stood the little twit, waiting with that stupid smile. Before I could say a word, he held up something and jingled it in front of me, as if he could distract me from my mission!

   “You can’t get too far without your car keys, can you, Sir?” he chuckled. I stared with utter disdain at my keys he was dangling like a toy before a dog. I began to rationalize the scenario in my mind. “Leaving your keys behind hardly qualifies a man as elderly!” I said in a raised tone, “It has nothing to do with age!” I turned and headed back to the truck.

   Now I was shaking, I was so angry. I slipped the key into the ignition, but it wouldn’t turn. Now what? I checked my keys and tried the valet key. Still nothing. That’s when I noticed the purple beads hanging from my rear view mirror. I don’t have purple beads hanging from my rear view mirror. Then, I noticed a few other things: Happy Meal toys in the floorboard; a partially eaten doughnut on the dash. A half-empty soda in the cup holder.

Whoever’s truck that was: I was only in it less than two minutes, and I didn’t take anything.

   Moments later I’m speeding out of the parking lot, relieved to finally leave this nightmarish burrito stop. That’s when my stomach growled at me. Hunger! My stomach growled and churned, and I reached across the seat to grab my burrito, only it was not there. I swung the truck around, gathered my courage, and headed back into the restaurant one more time. There he stood, draped in youth and mockery. He still had his stupid smile.

   “It just isn’t your day is it?” he said as he held out my burrito and drink. That’s all he said, but I know what he was inferring: “Why don’t you get a Boy Scout to help you back into your vehicle so you can go and apply for Social Security benefits, old man?”

   I went back out to my truck. From nowheere, a young guy came up and knocked on my window to get my attention. He was holding up my wallet. He explained, “I think you dropped this over by my truck by mistake.” I took my wallet back and offered to pay him $20 for its safe return. He said to me, “Naw, keep your money. My grandfather loses his stuff like this all the time.”

I drove home.

   I walked in the front door, I went straight to my recliner-rocker, covered my legs with a blanket, turned on Jeopardy!, and ate my burrito. The good news was, I had successfully found my way home.


A picture I saved from the old Sears and Roebuck catalog. It’s so funny.

The Translation:

   DILAPIDATED BUILDING! A two-bedroom home with a mattress shoved in a large closet, and all the doors off the hinges. There are holes in the kitchen roof and ceiling, the wind blows through the broken windows, the living room floor has rotted and collapsed, the master bedroom is boarded shut, weeds and mushrooms are growing in the bathtub, the plumbing has unstable water pressure, a broken toilet has flooded the basement, the electrical wiring has shorts, the septic system bubbles up in the yard, the house sits on a rocky sandlot between a sewage treatment plant and a lumberyard.

Even the banks won’t finance this one… $500 down, $513/mo.