Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

My grandfather (my mom's stepdad) was a farmer. He owned acres of land covered with the most gorgeous orange groves and citrus trees you've ever seen. And if you thought they looked magnificent, the taste was even more magnificent. Now that he, and his groves, are gone, eating fruit just isn't the same. His oranges were the sweetest and juciest you've ever tasted. His pomegranates were always my favorite-not my mom's favorite, however, because of the stain the juice would leave behind on our clothes.

Grandpa had the most beautiful avocadoes you've ever laid your eyes on. Truly, they were amazing. In my family, we LOVE avocadoes and there was no comparison of who had the best avocadoes around. When you go to the store, you walk out with those sissy-la-la avocadoes, the size of your palm. Grandpa would bring home avocadoes the size of grapefruits and they were more delicious than any I've ever bought.

Because of the abundance of avocadoes, my grandma had to be creative to use them all up; grandma didn't waste a thing. Not a thing. We grew up eating a lot of guacamole, avocadoes on our sandwiches and tacos...when there was still an abundance after that, grandma created a recipe called "Avocado Cream Pie". It might not sound that appealing, but it won a ribbon at the fair and she had her picture taken for the paper.

The point of my avocado reminiscings: our family is well versed in, and very familiar with, avocadoes.

Last Wednesday night, my dad came over to my house. He had a somber expression as he walked through the door and right away I could sense that he was feeling a little down about something. I asked him what was going on. He scrunched his nose, glanced down at the ground, and then looked me square in the eye and said,

"What does mom always like to put on her turkey sandwich?"

I brainstormed some ideas with him: cheese, mayo, tomato, her sub sandwich oil.

He looked at me and said,

"Yeah, but what is the one thing that she always loves to put on her turkey sandwiches...always...think about it, something green...?"

And then it dawned on me, "Avocado."

He gave a little frown and said,

"I made her a turkey sandwich tonight, put on some avocado for her and she didn't know what it was. She kept saying 'what is this stuff, I don't want this' and took it off. I tried explaining to her that it was avocado, the same stuff she put on her tacos last night, but she didn't get it."

That was puzzling to me. "Are you telling me that she ate avocado on her tacos last night and she didn't know what it was tonight?" I asked my dad.

"Yep."

We conversed a little more about the issue. Even after an explanation of avocadoes, mom still could not comprehend what they were. It's confusing to me that she would know, and enjoy, something one night and not know what it is the next. As I pondered about this, a thought came to me that perhaps she hasn't completely lost her knowledge of an avocado; if it was presented to her on a taco, she might still remember what it is. But her association of an avocado in any other form is gone. She cannot comprehend that avocadoes go on sandwiches because in her mind, their purpose is solely for tacos. I suppose I will have to test this theory out the next time we have tacos (which should be fairly soon...it is one of her staple foods).

As I reflect back over the past few months, I see how rapidly her comprehension is declining. At times her lack of knowledge about certain things seems very sudden, such as with the avocado. It's a little scary and disconcerting. If she can forget an avocado from one day to the next, will it be that sudden with her forgetting us?

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