Photos by MJ Klein, Hui-chen & Nancy, including FOOD PHOTOS
Before we continue with our series, I would like to talk about the series and how I’ve written it. First of all, I updated the WordPress In-series plug-in and it blew out all the previous series data. I am unable to re-enter that information and get the updated plug-in to work and actually display series. This means that all those series I wrote in the past are unconnected. The articles are still there, but as in this series, there is no longer a list of them at the bottom so you can find all of them. Sorry but you’ll have to use the search box at the upper right. I didn’t do it! UPDATE: I fixed it by creating a new series and editing the previous articles. I do not want to have to do that for each series I’ve written!
Also, on these series that are not time-sensitive, I’ve been taking my sweet time writing about them. That certainly is the case with this series, which I have written over many months time. Also, in some cases I had to think about what I wanted to write about (even though I do outlines) and I also have other things to do. So that explains why I often write about things that happened some time ago. Honestly, it just doesn’t matter.
Now, onto the current article: We have some interesting things for you, so sit back and enjoy!
This is our father’s reaction to seeing Nancy coming in the front door. He didn’t have his glasses on but he knew who it was right away!
It might seem strange to say that, but Dad is suffering from dementia (as I mentioned before) and he is having trouble with names. Currently he is able to recognize people though. I’ve spoken to him on the phone recently and after I told him who I was he knew me right away.
Dad tells some kind of a story to Nancy who has just arrived at his home
It was heartwarming to see them interact like this.
She had the rest of us cracking up!
We left Dad to rest. He wasn’t able to spend all of his time with us naturally, so we had to pace things.
I had an idea about something that we knew he would enjoy doing. Dad took the family to Florida in 1959 and bought a home there. Nancy and my brother John were born in Florida, and our family has a lot of history in that State. Dad loves fishing and seafood in general. One of his favorites is shrimp, boiled in beer, and his own homemade cocktail sauce. After talking it over with Janet and John, we decided that we would have a big shrimp boil for Dad, just like old times.
Hui-chen and I went to the local store that is know for having seafood, and we bought all of the shelled medium sized shrimp that they had on display. Then I went to the alcohol section and bought a case of the cheapest beer I could find. Cheap beer makes for a good shrimp boil because the cheaper and stinkier it is, the better. Don’t waste your time on good imported beer for cooking!
Checking the shrimp. Almost!
Now it’s ready to come off. The worst mistake people make is to overcook seafood. If it looks done, it is.
Here I am taking the shrimp out of the boiling pot (can you tell it’s me?)
Brother John had brought some smoked fish with him (as I mentioned in a previous article in this series)
For those you who who want to suffer more, just take a look at this closeup! Of course you can always click on this link and view it really close up! The smoked fish tasted incredible. This is just what I had in mind – some Florida cracker style food that Dad would enjoy.
My sister and her husband have a fantastic home that’s just great for entertaining! This shot was taken in the early evening and the weather was just perfect.
Dad really enjoyed himself.
Our father was known for his shrimp cocktail sauce but he can’t make it anymore. Fortunately I know how to make it so I whipped up a huge batch that was faithful to the original recipie. Notice in this shot that Dad has a rather large bowl of it. I’m telling you that there are few times I can remember being so happy that plans I had made turned out so well.
My sister Janet commented that it was “just like old times” and I can’t think of a better way to describe that evening.
This was a day for reliving old times indeed. A few days previous I had asked Janet if Dad had been in her pool in recent times. She answered that he hadn’t been able to enjoy her pool in quite some time due to his mental condition. I suggested that we talk with his wife Wanda about the situation and see what she thought about the idea of us putting Dad in the pool with us. Wanda readily agreed that with the addition of myself and John, both very strong and capable swimmers, there were enough men around to handle the situation safely, so, Wanda helped Dad put on his swim trunks and prepare him to enjoy one of the things he loves – swimming!
I hopped in the pool with my sister’s husband Mike, while my brother John and my sister’s son Adam helped Dad make it safely into the water. Dad was laughing the entire time! He thought it was great!
Once we got him into the pool, we needed to give him a sense of security. You can see him grabbing for one of those foam “noodles” we placed in front of him. Dad knows what those are as he used to spend quite a bit of time in Janet’s pool, so this experience certainly wasn’t anything new to him.
Once Dad got his footing he became totally relaxed. Remember, at one time my father used to go on solo swims in the ocean at least one mile distant from the shore. He taught me to respect, not fear water, and that teaching saved my life once when I had a series of diving equipment malfunctions that could have become fatal if I had panicked. In this photo Mike and I are simply asking Dad what he wants to do. He decided to get wet and go for a swim!
To be honest, I was the one who was nervous. Here you see Mike and I keeping a watchful eye on things. Although Dad is enjoying himself and we certainly didn’t want to interfere with that, we understand that Dad isn’t as strong as he used to be. One of our concerns was that he might not be able to maintain his grip on the flotation aids. We kept him in the shallow end of the pool.
Look at the look on my sister’s face. Dad grabbed the ends of the noodle and made like he was rowing around the pool. Janet’s second son Casey joined us and sat by the pool with a watchful eye.
He really seemed to enjoy himself and actually made something of a “comeback” while in the pool. Janet says that he was joking around more than usual and that is a good sign.
At one point Dad became completely relaxed and let Janet push him all around the shallow end. We all remember Dad doing these kinds of things for us when we were little, and now it was our turn to do the same for him.
Eventually, it got a bit chilly and it was time for Dad to get out of the pool. We had to pick him up and set him down on the side before trying to stand him up.
I’m very glad that we were on-hand to assist Dad because it wouldn’t be secure enough with only 2 or 3 people. This job requires 2 in the pool and 2 standing at the edge, minimum.
After swimming, Dad seemed a lot more talkative and active. He kept saying how nice it was in the pool, and it became clear that this had been a wonderful therapeutic experience for him. At one point during his time in the pool, he broke out into an overhand stoke and went into the deep end on his own! I shot after him like a bullet and I regret to say that I got a bit too close to him, as I was worried he might run of of gas in the deep end. His hand contacted my body and it distracted him and he stopped swimming. I quickly grabbed him and took him to the end of the pool in the deep end. He rested a bit and then easily made his way back to the shallow end. If I hadn’t distracted him, I have no doubt that he would have easily made it to the far end of the pool.
This pool experience gave me an idea that I was able to explore a few days later. I will present that to you in another article a few days from now, so you won’t want to miss that!
To end this article I wanted to show a few cute photos of the bunnies that live on my sister’s property.
Clicking on any one of these photos will take you to it’s Flickr page where you may view the large size. This last one looks especially good in the large size because these are baby bunnies.
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See you next time!
Articles in series Our 2008 USA Trip:
- Our 2008 US Trip, Part One
- Our 2008 US Trip, Part Two: Getting There!
- Our 2008 US Trip, Part Three: John Arrives
- Our 2008 US Trip, Part Four: D-Day
- Our 2008 US Trip, Part Five: My Father’s Wartime Service
- Our 2008 US Trip, Part Six: Nancy Arrives
- Our 2008 US Trip: Belews Lake Day
- Our 2008 US Trip: Asian Food & More Swimming
- Our 2008 US Visit: Taiwan, Via Detroit