Mom has always admired and appreciated members of the military. I would say she is a pretty patriotic lady and raised us to love and honor the military too. We celebrated July 4th in a festive, pro-USA kinda way every year in our childhood, although we were pretty violent with the fireworks at times. While my dad served in the military, mom never served…except for about 15 minutes vicariously. Allow me to explain:
One day mom and my step-dad were at Silver Dollar City’s amphitheater watching a patriotic concert, as they were wont to do yearly in the summers gone by. The announcer, as all good Branson, Missouri announcers do, requested that the crowd honor the men and women who served in the military. Mom, not paying attention, stood to honor them in applause…just after the announcer requested that THEY stand to be honored. Mom said several people shook her hand and hugged her and thanked her graciously for her service as they left. Mom was horrified at the time and tried to say “uh, wait…no…uhhh….not me..”, to no avail. She was later amused, saying she now knew better why members of the military appreciated recognition for service.
Today mom is a nearly 10-year member of the Anti-Alzheimer’s Army (diagnosed with dementia nearly 10 years ago and Alzheimer’s nearing 2 years ago). Mom proudly ranks, I would say, as at least a sergeant among the Sweet 17, although several outrank her as far as time served and combat tours. This battle is all internal and the enemy is slowly, but surely picking off these beautiful ladies. One can wonder how soon it will be until mom is next. 🙁
If the battalion members of mom’s memory unit comprised the characters of my favorite TV show in my life, M.A.S.H., it would have to be led by the Sherman Potter of the squad: a sometimes stern, quietly witty and very experienced lead nurse, Nurse E.
Sweet 17’s own Mrs. L would surely be the Hawkeye Pierce of the joint since she has a very funny streak among the sometimes seriousness. She is a self-professed “Jayhawker” too…which is close enough for me. The only fault here is she would almost certainly have been a teetotaler, the opposite of Hawkeye.
Buffalo M or Mrs. W, the teacher, could certainly play Corporal Klinger, not because of their attire, but because they are always searching for a way to escape although they have little or no memory and wouldn’t know what to do if they did exit the door.
Several could be considered Radar since they are always “organized” and horse tradin’ with other people behind the scenes to gain new goods. (“I will trade you my lower denture plate and my turtle bracelet for your fidget blanket and a coffee” some might say, but not out loud.)
Mrs. J. would certainly be Honeycutt. She is often stoic, but still with a smile. She is bright and still very sharp all things considered.
Frank Burns at the unit could be played by Mrs. J, especially lately, since she is militantly forcing her fellow princesses to “hurry up and eat so she can clean up!” She, unlike Burns, has an excuse though… and is still very much a sweetie other than her militant food clearing habit.
Father Mulcahy would be played admirably by Mrs. B, who always smiles and sings (although she could knock your block off if necessary!). Her positive spirit isn’t always appreciated by the Sweet 17 as much as it could be, but I love this dear soul.
Last is mom, closest to the Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan of the crowd. Mom is patriotic, compassionate but stern, and loves wholeheartedly. She is smart and good under pressure, except when she isn’t. She doesn’t have Hot Lips’ flaws all the same, but she fits the best and would love the comparison if she remembered the show.
(Note: I do not need a Freudian session to analyze my personality for referring to mom as this character. The character on M.A.S.H. was a deep, complex character and the nickname didn’t do her justice. Mom is only a tiny bit like Margaret….the good stuff, not the lass flattering stuff.)
Regardless of the validity of my odd M.A.S.H. correlation, the troops battle on, daily taking the shells of falls, the gunfire of grappling with each other, the sniper fire of mini-strokes. Someday they will all get to “go home” and, like the show multiplied by a bajillion, the audience that day will be huge.
Note: I try not to make pitches for cash much, but our little non-profit, SeniorAge, is in the trenches each and every day, fighting the effects of this disease and other conditions that go along with being a senior. We feed thousands, we lead wellness activities, anti-fraud classes, computer training, tax counselling, Medicare counselling and assistance, and a million other things with seniors in mind! We help keep countless people living at home where they want to be as long as the can be. We take occasional fire, but do our very best to serve admirably as many as we can possibly serve within the modest budget we have and within very prudent stewardship of donations. Please consider helping with a tax-deductible donation to these social “soldiers” (or to the Area Agency on Aging Senior Center nearby) or to the Alzheimer’s Association office near you. Thank you 🙂