Courage at Twilight: You Get No Bread with One Meatball

Dad hates to be pampered or waited upon.  Being waited on implies weakness and inability and obsolescence.  I deflect the issue by saying, “I’m already up for my own second helping—I might as well get yours.”  For he can no longer carry his dinner plate to the table, or his glass of milk to his chair, needing both hands for the cane.  We discovered, though, a new use for the unused walker: a delivery device for his dinner plate, riding on the cushioned seat.  So, I am back to not waiting on Dad—if he is already up, that is.  At night Dad leaves his cane downstairs, hanging on the banister, because he cannot carry the cane as he pulls himself up the stairs by dual railings.  Weston suggested the acquisition of a second cane for upstairs, to help Dad from the bed to the bathroom and back.  (Duh!  Why didn’t I think of that?)  Jeanette ordered a sleek black telescoping cane on Amazon Prime, and the cane came that very night.  Dad enjoyed opening the box and piecing the cane together and adjusting it.  The new cane became his primary cane, his downstairs cane, his daytime cane, and the faded blue floral aluminum cane, its rubber foot wearing dangerously slanted and smooth, was retired from active duty to become the midnight bathroom shuttle cane.  When Dad dropped his reading glasses, and when Dad snarled about the unreachable unfathomable no-man’s-land floor, Weston suggested we purchase a grabber, where, upon squeezing the handle, pincers at the rod’s end close upon the fallen object.  (Duh! Again.)  Jeanette added two grabbers to the cane order, one for upstairs and one for down.  “You’ve got your own handy-dandy fancy-shmancy picker-upper now, Dad, so I’m relieved of pick-up duty.”  If we could help Dad turn his head on his arthritic neck, he would see more quickly the Black-chinned Hummingbird landing on the sugar-water feeder, slipping its long needle beak into the fake flower holes—the sugar is real—suspended three feet from the kitchen window.  Perhaps a simple change of seat, looking head-on out.  (Duh!)  “There he is!  He’s so pretty.” Mom erupted, excited, when the tiny bird landed then flew off.  “He’s back!”  Eating our thin spaghetti and sauce and chicken meatballs, with fresh buttered salted corn-on-the-cob on the side, Dad began to sing an old comic song, “You get no bread with one meatball!”

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