Parental Journal 68 from Planet Elderly – Mom’s Date with Tarzan

Thursday, July 7, 2016 – early morning

Sometimes there are bonus days, and yesterday was one.

Dad was quite groggy and unresponsive during our morning and midday visits.  By 4 p.m. we were sitting in the living room.  Mom was watching reruns of “Gun Smoke” because she somehow got to that channel and wasn’t able to change it, and I was reading online news wondering how we were going to make it to bedtime without her getting too deep into obsessional thoughts about one of her favorite worries.

“You sleeping?” I asked.

“No.  Just sitting here.”

“How about we go check in on Dad and then go see ‘Tarzan?’  There’s a 6:40 showing.”

“Fine,” she said, delighted to go see Dad for a third time and get out of the house.  “I’ll go change.”  She was dressed in pajama bottoms from a new pair I bought for her and an old red housecleaning shirt.  Five minutes later she was ready to go.

When we arrived, Dad was chowing down in slow motion with eyes mostly closed, enjoying a chicken salad sandwich on a croissant and coleslaw.  He was eating with a fork, so I cut the sandwich into smaller bites.  Main meals are at noon; dinners are lighter fare.  He polished the plate…the first time in forever…and ate the piece of cake as well.  We weren’t too surprised.  He didn’t eat a bite during lunch, and dinner just happened to have food that woke up his taste buds.  Mom beamed and told him how proud she was of him.

Mom and Dad 01 July 6 2016

On to Meet Tarzan

As we walked to the car after vising Dad, I said we had plenty of time to get there and cautioned Mom that even at the appointed time for the movie to start, we would probably see several previews.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Oh…it’s always that way.  We go to movie theaters; we have to sit through previews.”

“Movie theater?  I thought we were watching the movie on TV and had to get back home.”

“Nope.  You haven’t been out to see a movie in over 25 years.  It’ll be different, but I think you’ll enjoy it.  Dad had a good dinner and you were happy.  Now it’s your turn.”

“We’re going to a show?  I’m going to a show??  I haven’t been to a show in ages.”  (“Show” is the word we use to use in the sixties when we went to the movies…as in “Let’s go to the show” or “Let’s see a show.”  At least that’s how it was in the Chicago suburbs at the time.)

As we drove to movie, I told Mom that movies are loud these days…sometimes really loud…plus there is much more violence in many  of them.  “Oh…I don’t like that,” she said.

“Well, ‘Tarzan’ received some good reviews so overall I think you’ll like the story line…plus, now they use computers a lot in film making.  The animals we see will be computer generated and they will look awesome.”

We sat through eight previews, each one ridiculously violent with fighting, buildings collapsing, horrid ghosts wreaking havoc to challenge a new team of ghost busters, cars flying about, bridges crumbling, and huge space ships invading earth.  I glanced at Mom.  She looked worried.

And then we saw “Tarzan.”  Mom was wide-eyed and transfixed.  She loved the animals, frowned with support for the enslaved natives, glared back at gorilla challenges, guessed a couple of plot developments, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  As we left, she kept saying, “I can’t believe I went to a show.  That was good.  I really enjoyed it.”

Mom and Tarzan July 6 2016

I enjoyed it, too…a Tarzan movie enhanced with character and plot development, tons of gorgeous scenery, and lots of computer generated action and animals.  (I loved the scene with the elephants.  I sort of teared up a bit.)  It was a fun adventure movie and I’m glad Mom enjoyed herself.

Maybe I can introduce her to Dory next.

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 70 years and faces permanent residency on Planet Elderly. Update: As of March 2, 2017, I turned 70. I'm now an official resident of Planet Elderly. Dad passed away September 22, 2016. In late March 2017 I was able to move Mom closer to me where she resided at a memory care assisted living community until being downsized to a skilled nursing senior community in October 2018 in Columbia, Missouri. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of our family's journey with dementia. It's quite an adventure. Recommended readings for others who have loved ones who live with some form of dementia: The 36-Hour Day; the website: ;
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