“Oh, I see you’re a barefoot girl this morning,” my father said, looking at my feet.
I was indeed barefoot, as is often the case when I’m still in my pajamas.
“A barefoot girl with shoes on,” he continued, smiling as he said it.
My daughters are often barefoot in the summer — and he says the same thing to them.
“What’s he talking about?” one of them asked once.
“It’s a poem he memorized,” I told them.
I asked him about it — and he dutifully recited two verses:
‘Twas midnight on the ocean,
Not a streetcar was in sight,
The sun was shining brightly
For it had rained all night.
‘Twas a summer’s day in winter
The rain was snowing fast,
As a barefoot girl with shoes on,
Stood sitting on the grass.
More verses are available on the internet, all unattributed, but those are the two he remembers.
Poetry and music get stored in a different part of the brain, I think — one that survives longer unscathed by dementia. It’s fascinating to think about.
Yesterday, he said something about Laurel going to the skating rink when I was taking her to the pool. He pulls up the wrong word often.
I also had a tough time convincing him that R2D2 wasn’t a radar unit. He was working on a crossword puzzle. R2D2 was the clue and he needed a 5-letter word beginning with R.
“R2D2 is a robot, Dad,” I told him.
“Why doesn’t radar work?” he asked, in all seriousness.
“Because it’s a robot. Robot will work there,” I said.
He made his if-you-say-so face and went back to the crossword.
Maybe if I made up a poem about it and had him memorize it, he would remember.