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Sunday, April 4, 2010

The worst soup, an Easter tale

The old, old women in the spring loaded reclining chair that raises the seated into a standing position is my grandmother. Physically. Her brain is tired, they call it dementia, she does not know who I am when I walk into her room. It is Easter Sunday and my entire family is coming to the nursing home that day to celebrate with her.

Seated in the recliner facing the window she is dressed in a terry cloth sweat suit and on her feet are gold keds with glittery laces.

"Happy Easter Lolly," I say, breathing through my mouth, which I will continue to do until I leave the nursing home. The smell of industrial Easter Brunch, fecal matter and disinfectant makes my head and stomach churn.

"Well hello there," Lolly says as I enter the room.

"It's your grandson Dan," I say.

"Oh, Danny," a brief hint of recognition reflects in her eyes.

I am the first person from my family to arrive. The nurse informs me they are dying Easter eggs in the dining room if I would like to take Lolly down to participate. With the help of the nurse I get Lolly into a wheel chair and take her down the hall, passing open doored rooms with old folks watching TV.

A group of old, old people are sitting around a table. The events coordinator, an enthusiastic young nurse, is adding color tablets to bowls of vinegar. She welcomes Lolly and I.

At the head of the table, dressed in a pink and green terry cloth sweat suit, is Lucille . She is looking perky and coiffed for the special day. Of the group she is definitely the most excited for the activity.

"I use to dye easter eggs when I was a girl," she informs the table of very uninterested old folks.

"Really?" I prompt.

"Oh yes, I just love dying Easter eggs," she says. "My sister's and I would just love to dye Easter eggs."

The events coordinator had passed out the bowls of dye, a couple of hard boiled eggs, and a soup spoon to retrieve the dyed egg to each person around the table.

Lucille was still carrying on about Easter on the farm and how much fun they would have.

As I was helping Lolly dye an egg, I hear Lucille complaining, "ew, ew, ew,".

I look over at her; bowl of dye in front of her, teeth and lips stained bright red, soup spoon in hand, a repulsed look on her face.
"This is the worst soup I've ever had," she says, lips pulled back, eyes watering, but, remarkably, with an undaunted enthusiasm.

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