Mind's Eye Blog


“Can it sit by the table? I brought something…” Roger, who just walked in, is pointing at the little black nylon shopping bag hanging from his walker. I move the chair a few feet towards the table. With careful shuffling steps, Roger positions himself in front of the chair and slowly folds his tall frame to sit down. Immediately he pulls out a packet of crackers and a small transparent plastic container. He opens his pocket knife and starts spreading a brownish paste on top of crackers. “I will get you a plate.” I rush into the kitchen, not far, since we are in the dining room where a sing-along is about to start. I inspect the pile of porcelain plates. It should not be too big, dwarfing the offering, but if it is too small the crackers will fall on the floor. I pick an old fashion white round plate, with a large rim. I help Roger arrange his snacks on it.  It looks fine. “Shall I pass it around?” I ask. –Try one.” suggests Roger. I cannot refuse. The cracker is dry and salty, but the spread interesting. “Is it chopped liver? –Yes, my daughter brought it. –I like it. Does she make it herself? –Sometimes she does. This one is from a store.” How long has it been in his room? I do not remember seeing a fridge in there? We will get sick? I have been working steadily  in elders’ residential communities, for the last ten years. This is the first time someone has brought a snack to share during a scheduled group. This is sacred. I am not stopping. I present the plate around the circle of residents. “No, thank you.” “I am so full from lunch.” “Maybe later.” The answers are polite but negative. The musician, about to start singing, whispers to me: “Is that safe?” before pronouncing a loud “No, thank you very much.” I find this rude. I comment:”Our musician can’t eat now. If he was choking on a crumb, it would ruin the whole program.” Just before I put the plate back on the table, one woman decides to try a toast. She is appreciative: “Yummy, thanks Roger”. I put the plate in front of Roger and take a second. “Thank you, it is so thoughtful of you to have brought a nice snack for all.”


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