From the mouths of old babes


by cheri block

Took my mother Joan to her monthly infusion at the local hospital this morning.

There, sitting with a drip line in her tiny arm and a Glamour Magazine in her crooked fingers, she said,

How did I get to be this old so quickly?

She’s had several strokes, so her memory isn’t what it used to be. She’s also deaf, one of many byproducts of a vicious attack of meningitis when she was 67 years old, but for all who know her, these things haven’t stopped her from living her life.

Mother, this is a question all of us ask, but few of us answer. More importantly, was the story your caretaker Belen told me this morning true?

As I said, my mother’s memory is short. I wanted to tell her the story again.

You told Belen that when you turned 100, you want to dance on a table and in case your memory has gone bad,  you wanted Belen to remind you of your wish.

Belen told you that when you turned 100, she would be 87. Perhaps her memory would be poor by then, she confided.

Belen told you that she would ask Cheri to remind her to remind you to dance on a table when you are 100.

Mother seemed please with this plan, so pleased, I felt it was my duty to disrupt it.

Mother, I will be 80 when you are 100, so perhaps I won’t remember to remind Belen to remind you that you must dance on a table when you are 100.

Her brow furrowed and she waved her arm, the one with the drip-system delivering her drugs.

How old will Sara be when you are 80 Cheri? She can remind you….

And so the story went.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in People, The Dragon in the Lobby: a fairytale about Assisted Living, Writing and Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to From the mouths of old babes

  1. Sara says:

    I’ll be 57. If we all make it, we will definitely dance on a table even if we have to take the legs off. I just love my Grandma and my Mom.

  2. says:

    adorable! Great storytelling. I’ll be only 74. I’ll remind all of you! Cindy 🙂

    Cindy Block Usedom Cindy and Partners

    Cell: 510-501-4140 Office: 925-426-3760

  3. Kurt says:

    Absolutely beautiful reflection.

  4. Not to worry. When she is 100, I’ll be 102, and I”LL remind her. A beautiful story Cheri. Only your dear mother would think of this.

  5. Christopher says:

    Despite her health issues, your mom, from her photo, looks hale and hearty, and looks like she might well reach 100.

    Nonetheless, I feel sure you take nothing for granted, and simply treasure each new day in her life.

    • Cheri says:

      You are so sweet. Yes. I do treasure these days and thanks for your comments, as always. Whether we are haggling about politics or waxing sentimental about life, you are much appreciated, Christopher. Remember, you, Mr. C, and I are the originals!

      By the way, I have watched more than once that Elliot Gould clip you sent me. I have also sent it on to a number of my classmates. They thank you.

  6. Rosemary says:

    Sweet, sweet story. Your darling mom looks even younger in that photo than the last time I saw her….might have been Elizabeth’s Bat Mitzvah!! You and your family are just amazing to me…such a circle of LOVE!! But Joan is such a delightful KICK!! Have a big party, so we can all be there to join in the dance!!

    • Cheri says:

      Thanks Rosemary. She is having a better year without the horrific back pain. Surgery was successful, even at age 80. You can see no pain in her eyes.

  7. Queen Joan is adorable. We’ll call on Sage Dragon to help light those candles!
    Happy Birthday hugs to her!

  8. Richard says:

    We shall be watching out on this blog for a video of the dance of the century.

    All good wishes to Joan.

    • Cheri says:

      I’m not sure who will make the movie, but I’m thinking maybe we should make it now and show it in 17 years.

      • Rosemary says:

        I’m all for that!!
        We did a flash mob dance (“I’ve got a Feeling, Tonight’s Going To be A Good Night” by the Black Eyed Peas) at the MSJHS Class of 72 Reunion last year…it was far more fun practicing it for 6 months, than the night of the “performance” (I think we all had 2 cocktails each by the time we hit the dance floor…oops!!)…lol! So, imagine if we can practice over the years in preparation for Joan’s Centennial Celebration??!!!! We might ALL be in walkers and wheelchairs by then, so we’ll need to modify it as time goes on…and Sherre, your grandchildren might have to lead us…

        • Cheri says:

          Based on my experience this past weekend with Ben’s 2 year old daughter, I have no doubt that this little one will be ordering us around and in full control of the dance.

          Is there a You Tube of your flash mob dance?

          • Rosemary says:

            I have a video from one of our practice sessions; we had spent the weekend in Foresthill dancing and drinking margaritas…it is from the last take, after the last margarita…not for public viewing…lol! But I can send it to your e-mail!!! At the reunion, Dave Muela started the music (for the flash dance) 20 minutes early…we were all stunned and not ready in front of 350 people we jumped up and (Voila!!!) 6 months of practice-confidence disappeared.!!

  9. potsoc says:

    I’ll be around 102 or 103. I will do my best to help in the reminding. The Queen does look regal.

    • Cheri says:

      Great Paul. I have officially inscribed you and your phone number in the book of directions for the dance on the table with the legs sawed off.

  10. dafna says:

    that was my thought also, you mom looks like a very beautiful old babe! she is only one year older than my father and two more than my mom. as far as keeping up appearances, my mother still looks good at her age besides all her ailments.

    have you picked a song for the dance?

    • Cheri says:

      hi dafna,
      Good for your mother. That’s my philosophy–don’t let your ailments take away from you appearance, if you can help it. Even though my back hurts after I wear high heels to a wedding, I am not giving them up, ever. I just take two Advil and put them on and off I go.

      I have not thought of a name for the dance but will ask Queen Joan. Do you have any suggestions? For a dance on a table?

  11. wkkortas says:

    It is difficult–hell, damn near impossible–to do heartwarming without crossiing the line into treacly-sweet and sticky. Bravo.

  12. Brighid says:

    Your mom looks wonderful. What a great idea to do a table dance, I need to start practicing…

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