Fred was a gentle soul. He had been a boxer and a farmer and lost a finger. When I met him at the nursing home, he was suffering from dementia but didn’t let that get him down. He always had a smile, a friendly greeting, and a handshake and managed to brighten my day every time I saw him. He is the subject of the following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver.
“How are you today?” I ask the old man in his wheelchair, as he smiles at me.
“Fit as a fiddle and ready for love,” he answers.
He asks me the same questions. “What’s your name? What’s my name? Why am I here? Where’s my wife? You’re a beautiful girl. Do you have a husband?”
I could stay with him all day, repeat the answers to his questions—but I have places to go, things to do, people to see. With reluctance, I say goodbye.
Fred loved music. Here’s one of the many songs I sang to him and other residents at the nursing home. This link will be available for at least a few days.
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver