Santo Smiles

Deck at dusk after rain

I don’t think we have been to an opera since Peggi’s mom died. Maybe that Wagner, “Live from the Met,” broadcast that we saw at the mall was after she passed. I’d like to go to Glimmerglass this summer but we say that every year.

I have a ready-made opera in my head. It came to me in a flash this morning. We stopped by the Friendly Home where my mom spent the last year and half of her life. Someone else’s name was on my mom’s room. We caught up with the staff and I commented on how quiet the main room was and they told us there was a group in the sunroom so we headed down there.

Brandon, the former activities director, was promoted and I thought he was irreplaceable but I was wrong. A woman named Molly was in the center of a circle of residents. She was throwing a large ball with “Life is Good” on it to one person at a time. This must be one of the last skills to go because people who have lost all the rest can still catch and throw the ball.

Brandon was a genuine gentleman and so casual. The residents loved him because he never talked down to them. He was able to engage people who I thought had already checked out. But Molly one-upped Brandon.

She sings to the residents, not just songs but everything she says to them. “Here comes the ball, Tony.” She came over to us and said she had learned that music engages the whole mind where talking does not. She didn’t have to explain a thing. We were watching this play out. Philomena laughed and Santo smiled! The residents were so stimulated Molly had to call for help. Beverly and Nancy got out of their chairs. The opera was just getting going.

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