The only creature more honest than a 4 year old is an 84 year old

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, last night I took Stumps to a youth dinner theater at a friend’s church in town. Stumps and I were seated beside a nice couple who introduced themselves and welcomed us as soon as we sat down. The wife mentioned that they were in their eighties and had no grandchildren of their own, so they loved coming to the annual youth group musical. Also joining us at the table were the very friendly parents of one of the teenage performers.

Throughout dinner, it became somewhat evident that the older man at the table very likely had a touch of dementia. He asked me numerous times when my husband would be there (Husband stayed home with Beans), and where our family attended church (we typically spend Sunday mornings in our pajamas worshipping DVRed episodes of WonderPets.)

As my dear grandfather, Big Papa, died a few months ago after a heartbreaking decline into dementia, I found this all pretty endearing. If I closed my eyes, it was almost as if Big Papa was with us yesterday evening.

The dinner preceded the play, and after dinner the teens started the show. We each had programs at our placesetting, and approximately every 10 minutes, the man would hold up his program, gesture to his wife, and very loudly and conspicuously say “What is the name of the kid with no talent? I want to know his name!” To take the utter awkwardness of the situation to a stratospheric level, his wife was a bit hard of hearing, so he just kept getting louder.

All of the kids were great by the way – I thought the play was really cute and as I blogged about yesterday, my four year old LOVED IT. Loved it so much, in fact, that she wanted to ditch me at the end of the night and go home with the cast (Shameless groupie. Has she no self-respect?)

Anyway, all of that to say, I have no idea which kid he had in mind, but since he was saying this throughout the play, and the cast of characters completely changed with each scene, I think my seatmate was just somewhat disoriented and confused. I couldn’t bring myself to make eye contact with the other family at our table though, whose high school student was up on stage performing.

This is so completely something my own crabby and beloved Big Papa would have done in his last couple of years with us. A New Yorker by birth and lifelong lover of all things musical theater, I like to think that was just his cantankerous spirit dropping in to join us for dinner and a show. It was obvious that this particular elderly couple was absolutely beloved by everyone in the fellowship hall last night, so I am sure his questionably appropriate behavior didn’t even raise an eyebrow. And that makes me very happy. God bless those who suffer through their latter years with dementia. And even moreso, dare I say it…  God bless those who are brave enough to venture out with those folks in public when their filters are decidedly turned off!

I miss you terribly Big Papa. It was nice to catch a glimpse of you last night and hear you giving all of those adolescent amateurs a piece of your mind. Please join us for a meal and a little bit of hellraising again soon :’)

Interment

Today we are attending the interment of my grandpa’s ashes at the state veteran’s cemetery in Salisbury. In the past two days, Stumps has said “I want to die because I love God and He loves me and I can go live with Him and big papa in heaven” and “when we go to ‘say goodbye’ to big papa tomorrow, will he say bye to us and then we will watch him die?” Oh dear. (Grandpa died two months ago and this is just the memorial.) How do you explain the death of a loved one to a three year old because apparently I am not doing it very well.

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Today, somewhere in heaven, there is a brilliant, chess-playing, golfing, Redskins-supporting, ill-tempered, wise-cracking, WWII-fighting, great-grandchild-adoring retired nuclear physicist asking where they are broadcasting the Yankees game and, let’s be honest… He’s probably complaining about the service up there too. Be patient with him God. He’s brand new in town and his family misses him terribly. If it wouldn’t be too much to ask, he would love an NES in his mansion and the cartridge for the original video Jeopardy. And his favorite food is steak. I love you grandpa

Shelly

Today my home is a little less happy and my world is a little less stripey. I hope in kitty heaven they have lots of fleece blankets to shed on, unattended dinner plates to sample, sofas to claw up, and laps to settle in. Of your nearly sixteen years on this earth Shelly, I am so glad you spent the last five of them with us. I will miss you terribly and hope that the beloved pets of my childhood gave you lots of shreds of chicken and a wonderful welcome to the paradise you deserve.