Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunday Dinner at Medford

My mother warned me that the menu writer used so many adjectives you expect the food to actually taste good. It's always a big disappointment. We both ordered crab cakes ("our SPECIALTY!!") and asparagus. She also ordered baked potato soup. I had the pear salad.

This was Sunday dinner at 12 noon at my mother's senior living center. We were eating in the assisted living dining room. Most of the guests arrived with walkers or wheelchairs. The table was set nicely with white linen and goblets.

We were in the center of the room, with only one other person at our table. She had a most intense fragrance of Ivory Snow that was blowing my way. It took me a while to place the fragrance.

There was trouble in the corner near us, at a bigger table. Someone had taken someone else's seat. CHAIR WARS!!

"That's my seat. You can't sit there!" the lady with lots of gold jewelry yelled at the little Asian lady. She repeated this many times. The Asian lady just sat there staring straight ahead. The ruckus got worse.

The general manager waltzed in dressed up like Sarah Palin and told them all "Just go with the flow," and she flowed on out but that didn't help. Gold jewelry was on fire. "I pay for this seat and I'm going to sit here." Another well intended helper came over and said, "We're trying something new, just sit over here." "NO! That's my SEAT!"

Over in the other corner a man was moaning loudly because he didn't get what he ordered.

The crabcakes arrived. That's crab cake, one per person, and you wouldn't have wanted two. It looked like a little brown fried falafel ball, and that's a nice way of describing it. Next to it were two gray and droopy asparagus spears.

When I looked back at Chair Wars the Asian lady had lost and vanished, and big mouth and her pals were now gloating over the victory. Awful.

We got talking with the lady at our table. She was 103 years old! Second oldest at Medford. She said she went to Smith class of '28. I said I went to Smith, class of '71. She said not many women at Medford went to colleges where you had to take an entrance exam.

My mother said, "Who wants to live so long?" Our friend said, "If you're in good health, why not?"

She said 25 years ago she had a stroke, and at the hospital they told her that her veins were 75% clogged. She stopped eating fat. She said she's told the Medford doctor many times that the Medford kitchen was cooking the wrong food for old people. She sent her plate back because the meat was covered with gravy.

Then it turned out she had lived in the apartment with the fish pond where my mother lived when she first moved to Medford. In fact this lady put the fish pond in. This all seemed so amazingly coincidental and wonderful to my mother and me. Unfortunately it turns out my mother eats with her every night and they've been around the fish pond story many times before.


Linda said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I know you can argue that Gold Jewelry is off her rocker, but stay out of her chair! She is mean!

On the other hand, the 103-year-old sounds delightful and there's probably a reason she and your mom sit together, even though your mom's memory isn't the best. (So wonderful about the fish pond.)

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
prb said...

Glad your mom has a friend there, Sally. Too bad about the food, though. The place my father lives, Brookwood (you gotta love those names) has really good food. Wouldn't it be fun if our parents were at the same retirement place?

Namowal said...

Too bad they let the chair bully win. I bet she's been that way her whole life.

As Linda said, I'm glad your mom has a friend there. One hundred and three! Wow.

stray said...

Is the fish pond story true?

Our relative had a falling out with an old friend who switched tables because they couldn't agree on whether to open or close the blinds: one wanted to see the flowers he'd paid to have planted, the other said the sun was in his eyes (but he wouldn't just switch chairs to face away from the window, he had to move to another table).

stray said...

I didn't think I cared about visiting the Rockwell museum, but it was fun to see the originals.

Anonymous said...

Gold jewelry reminds me of Tracey Ullman's Fern Rosenthal.

Sally said...

prb, your dad is lucky to have good food. I just used the Rockwell illo because it was a midday Sunday dinner. The fish pond story is true.

Richmond Hill said...

I'm not sure if I'm gonna laugh about the chair fight. But your story reminds me of my wife's parents. They're enjoying their senior living in North Richland Hills since they retired from work. We get to visit 'em every weekends and have dinner.