Sunday, March 28, 2010


I was more than a little afraid that I would get very bored talking to Ted. He does repeat himself quite a bit. And I can't talk about current events or news because Ted has no memory of more recent things. It surprised me that eating and talking with Ted are relaxing and interesting times. Barbara works to keep our meals on a consistent schedule. Lunch at noon. Supper at five thirty. Ted is often quiet as we begin eating. All that is needed to animate him is finding the right topic. I pitch in thoughts here and there, but my main intent is to allow Ted to give his ideas on any given subject.

Today we started a long conversation by observing that geese fly in a V formation. Ted speculated on how geese organize themselves. That lead to a discussion of leadership. Leadership led to a discussion of bums (tramps or hobos). We went on to the phone system in 1930's southern Illinois. And so on.

Ted has a lot of stories to tell. I have heard many of them before, but with a few gentle nudges I can usually encourage him to give a new take on an old story. Sometimes it is a new plot twist. Other times it is a new character. Ted's remembers a great deal from his boyhood. However, his memory is poor enough to allow him to rearrange and repopulate stories without struggling over whether they are consistent and accurate.

Even when I realize that Ted is confabulating, I find his point of view interesting. He is a kind and compassionate man. He is mystified at the mean spirit he has seen in some folks. He is generally patient and full of grace as he describes most people.

Just when I think that I may tire of listening, Ted generally indicates that he is tired of talking and moves to his armchair for a rest.

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