Today was the 4th Annual Walk for Alzheimer’s in Fayetteville, NC. I’ll be honest, I am not the best volunteer or supporter, but as you all know this is near and dear to my heart. I signed up to walk a couple of months ago. I put my fundraising goal at $100. Within 24 hours, my brother-in-law, Ned had given $100. How wonderful, but since I had three months left before the walk, I raised my goal to $500. My closest friends were wonderful. I very much appreciate their support and donations. As of last week, I was still $300 away from my goal. Jeff Wright with Southeastern Construction of Rockfish came into the office and gave me a check for $315 to put me over my goal. With a few more donations from some coworkers, I raised over $600 by myself. It is such a little thing, but there are times when you feel so helpless that any little thing that you can do to contribute makes you feel more in control.
The walk was this morning and I met my business partner, Stefanie Baber, at King’s Grant, where it was held. It was cloudy part of the morning, which did help a little because it was so hot!! It was wonderful to see so many people gathered to help raise money and to honor the cause. It was also very emotional. When we had the opening ceremony and they introduced a man that is currently residing in a local nursing home for Alzheimer patients and told his story, it made me cry. I know what his wife and family are going through and I so feel for them. Stefanie was sniveling also. She was there to support me and to walk for her grandmother. Next year we will become even more involved and volunteer to help plan and set up.
There have been so many developments in so many horrible diseases that I can only hope that there will continue to be progress made towards finding a cure or prevention for Alzheimer’s. If you have the opportunity to participate, please take a few minutes and show your support. It helps to be around others that understand!
Today is dad’s birthday. He is 83 years old. Yesterday was his wedding anniversary. Mom and dad have been married 60 years. I went to spend the day with dad yesterday and Kathy went today. We try to spread out our visits, as to keep the confusion to a minimum. I had decided that I would take dad and spend the day with him doing something fun and give mom the day to herself to relax. She is always saying that she needs some time to herself.
So, when I arrived yesterday at 11:00, we visited for a little while and then I took dad with me into Washington to get some lunch. I had made mom some homeade chicken salad for lunch, so I knew that she was settled in for the afternoon. Dad and I went to Down on Main for lunch. Thursday is their shrimp special lunch and dad loves shrimp. We had a nice relaxed meal sitting out front at a little cafe table. After lunch we drove around the block to the Estuarium. It is a wonderful interactive museum preserving the history of the river and the area. Dad loves history and he had a great time looking at the exhibits. There were only a few people in there, so again, he was under no pressure to interact with people. This seems to make him nervous now. I had signed us up to take the River Tour and around 1:15, they asked us to gather for the tour. Gathering with the small group of people confused dad and he turned to me and told me that we had lost mom and we needed to find her before we could leave. I told him that we had left mom at home because she wouldn’t enjoy the river ride. He was okay then and we boarded the pontoon boat.
We spent about 1 1/2 hours cruising down the river, frequently stopping to hear about some of the history or to see different species of cypress trees or other plant life. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and dad appeared to be having a wonderful time. We discussed some of what we had seen and learned on the way home, but I never know how long an experience will remain with him before it is lost forever.
When we got home, dad told mom that we had gone almost to Greenville and around Chocowinity and then down the river. Mom, being mom, told him that he had already been on the boat before, so it wasn’t anything new. That didn’t deter him, he told her about the great time that he had.
Today Kathy and Jonas went to spend a couple of hours with mom and dad for his birthday. Kathy told me that dad told them about his river tour yesterday and what fun he had. Later this afternoon I called to tell him Happy Birthday officially today. Mom said that he had told everyone about his river tour and what he had learned about the history of the area. I am so happy that I was able to share that with him. And then the bittersweet part of the story. When dad got on the phone so that I could tell him happy birthday, he told me about the wonderful time that he had on the river yesterday. He then proceeded to describe what he had seen and what he had learned. He remembered everything that the guide had told him but he didn’t remember that I had gone with him. I am grateful for the memories that he does have and we will continue to try and help him create new ones, even if they do not stay with him long, I believe that they help his well being and I will always believe that.
Dad was raised on a farm with 3 older sisters and 1 younger sister. All four of his sisters went to Meredith College and became teachers. Everything dad ever wanted to do was anchored to the farm and plants. He was in ROTC in high school and throughout college at NCSU so that it could help pay for his tuition. He majored in Agronomy of course!
When he got out of college, he had to fulfill his obligation to the military and was in service for a couple of years. He was stationed in Georgia at Fort Benning. He attended a local church and met my mom there. Poor man didn’t stand a chance, lol. They dated and when he left Fort Benning, they were married and mom went with him. She was born and bred a city girl in a family with money. She lived in a household with a cook and a maid. And married this poor farm boy from NC, was she in for a surprise! Dad got out of the army and went to work for Cargill as a seed salesman and working on the farm. Within a year of marriage, I came along. My grandparents gave mom and dad an acre beside their house to build their own home. They still live in that house to this day!
Recently dad has told me that he feels ashamed to be honored for his service in the military, because he did not fight in a war. The Korean war was winding down when he was enlisted. I tried to tell him that it was no fault of his that he didn’t go overseas and see any action, but that I was glad that he did not. About a year ago, when my parents were still able to drive to church, the church had a military appreciation day. When they asked for each branch of the service to stand up, dad proudly stood and sang along. Later he told me that he had such mixed feelings about his military claim.
I have his uniforms and helmet from the army. He gave it to my son and I packed it away in my cedar chest. Last Christmas, my son put on the dress jacket and wore it into the living room for dad to see. He was quite pleased and spent about 30 minutes telling us about some of the people that he had met and some of the things that they had done in the army. I cherish the stories that he tells of long ago and he so enjoys the telling of them.