Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Coffeepot thoughts

When we packed and prepared for our extended travels we decided to deep six the electric coffeemaker and replace it with a low tech alternative. We brought along an old metal percolator coffeepot instead. You know, the kind that heats water into steam that pushes the hot water up a tube where it falls through the coffee basket and into the main compartment? We haven't missed the electric coffemaker at all. And how sweet to my ears is the sound of the percolating coffee that my husband prepares each morning!

From my husband you'd get a different story. He was sick of breaking the glass coffee carafes and having to buy a whole new coffeemaker just because the carafe was broken.

My Aunt Arline had a percolator coffeepot. One of my favorite childhood memories of her is when she made me a bowl of vanilla ice cream and absolutely drenched it in Hershey's chocolate syrup. Chocolate was my favorite and I was in hog heaven.

If you were to speak to her she would very soon point out that her son is perfect, everything her daughter-in-law does is amazing, and woe unto you if you inquire after any of her grandchildren. They are the best, the smartest, most clever, prettiest, etc. They are truly the light of her life; the center of her heart and her being. And for twenty years she took the best of care of my Grandma, her mother. They lived next door to each other and Aunt Arline's daily assistance enabled my grandmother to live a contented, independent life long after my grandfather passed on.

Aunt Arline has Alzheimer's now. She's been placed in a nursing home. I feel so badly for her. Like a broken record, over and over she constantly demands to go home. She claims she has got to go home to take care of Mom and Dad. This wears out her family. Her home has been sold. She hasn't been told it's been sold, but even if she was she's no longer coherent enough to understand what it means.

She kicked a nurse and demanded to go home and again they've readjusted her medication. My heart breaks for her and for my cousins.

So when I scrub the coffeepot each night I think of her. All my memories of her wash over me. I bend down to empty the coffee grounds in the garbage can and I wonder how many times she must have done the very same thing. I recall the dozens of summers we lounged in her air conditioned living room wasting the days, because we had days to waste. How many hot Nebraska days did we all spend sitting and talking around her dining room table, while she kept the coffee cups filled? I would like to relive one of those days now.

I remember I was struck by how soft her cheek was when I hugged her at Grama's funeral and how nice she smelled. I ponder the sad ending that Alzheimer's brings. An ending no one deserves.

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