spoon anyone?

24 08 2008

 As I sit here in the family room at hospice I’m being assaulted by PineSol.  A volunteer group is in today washing all the toys in the kids’ playroom.  My brother-in-law was spending overnight in my dad’s room last week and at one point – an aide came by and closed the door to the room.  A bit of time went by – the door was re-opened- and all he could smell was disinfectant.   A near daily occurrence at hospice has to do with people moving.  The room was all ready for its next occupant. The idea of cleaning things before they are reused is not new.  It’s generally accepted as hygenic and normal.  Generally accepted…then there was Billy’s way.  

Soon after my dad retired in 1983, my parents really got into collecting antique glassware.  On their small round oak kitchen table is an antique spooner.  Spooners typically came as part of a four piece set along with a creamer, sugar bowl and butter dish.  Since the spoon was the most used utensil – it was kept out and easily accessible.  So my mom became a fancy pants and had a spooner on the table where all the spoons were kept.  

In this last year it was Billy’s utensil of choice.  Everything would be put together in one bowl. “It’s all going to the same place!”, he’d exclaim as one of his most famous concoctions of cottage cheese, peaches, scalloped potatoes and ham all went in together. And bowls were easier so he could “catch” his food.  He’d reach across the table, grab a spoon out of the spooner and dive in.

 Then as he’d be finishing up – out of the corner of my eye I’d wait for the next stealth move.  Sure as shootin’ – what I thought had been happening WAS happening.  He’d lick the spoon clean, polish it with the bounty from a kleptogenarian outing (lots of “slopkins”) and slyly reach across the table and drop it back into the spooner.  Now a real conundrum…when I’d go to grab a spoon to stir my coffee…which is the one spit washed?  The answer – probably all of them.

Everyday – sometime in the day – at least the days I was there – I’d grab out those 6-8 spoons and wash them WITH SOAP AND WATER.  These were the times that I’d just shake my head in disbelief of how dementia could change a person.  As I live and breathe there was a day he would never put up with such antics.

Being a good Midwest Baptist family, we’d have a typical large Sunday dinner after returning from the morning services and Sunday School.  I remember looking forward to such lusciousness once a week.  The menu was only on a two to three week rotation but I don’t ever remembering hating any one of the options.  Two favs were roast beef, carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy or fried chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes.  Fancy jello salads were part and parcel of kitchen caches in the 50’s and my mom had her specialities that would be assembled Saturday night for Sunday’s feast.  My personal favorite:  black cherry jello, a can of pitted black cherries in their juice, topped with small marshmallows.

I say it was a favorite but in the interest of full disclosure, I need to modify that some…I liked parts of it – the marshmallows and the jello.  Those mushy black cherries, not so much.  So I formed an alliance with my brother, four years my senior, that I’d pick out the cherries and give them to him if he’d give me his marshmallow topping.  Deal.  Clever devil that I was – I figured a way to get all the jello off the cherries before I gave them up.  Noone could figure out just HOW I was able to get those cherries SO clean.  Duh – that is easy – I’d just pop them in my mouth – whoosh them between my tongue and cheek a time or two – sucking off all the jello and put them back on my plate before the trade.  

Then I got caught…and this is the stuff of family lore.

Billy’s take on my deception should be added right along side my entry.  

The moral of the story…if you’re ever at my mom’s you might want to drop your spoon on the floor, excuse yourself from the table and wash it before you start eating. And smile when you think of silly Billy.



One response

25 08 2008
Grady's Mom

HA! Mom had told me the spoon story…hilarious! And now I will never think of gma’s famous cherry jello the same again…funny, I always left the cherries as well! I’m lookin forward to our family gathering more w each passing day…the celebration of a life that produced great memories and tons of laughs! Luv ya!

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