Our first stop in Maryland on Friday was for lunch and we bought a Maryland Crab Cake for Dad. Notice, I capitalized “Maryland Crab Cake” because they are worth capitalization. Everyone on this blessed Earth should taste one. The only thing better is a Maryland Steamed Blue Crab, heavily seasoned with Old Bay and rock salt. Lots of them! I dream of the white fat and mustard in the corners of the back shell. Mmmmm.
It took a few days for me to get my mind ready to see Dad again. Since being told that he doesn’t recognize family or friends most of the time, I prepared for the worst. After all, when I lived with him last year for a few days at a time and took care of him while Mom was hospitalized, he was very confused and thought I was his sister. Oh, it’s so complex. Sometimes he’s right on target and other times he’s in another zone, far away from reality. We approached his room and Michael said to me, “Don’t say anything. Let him speak first.” Good idea.
I rounded the corner quietly and casually entered his room where he’s in the company of three other patients. It’s a large enough room with his bed next to a nice window view and they each have their own space, complete with a closet, bed, and television. He was in his own little world, sitting in his wheelchair and observing the others.
Before I said anything, he looked my way and, in his weakened, higher-pitched voice, belted out, “Mary!” Ahhh, I wanted to fall to my knees as my own name was music to my ears! A sudden wave of emotions took over me and I could barely choke out, “Hi, Dad!”. I didn’t want him to see my tears. He knew Michael but couldn’t remember his name right away and they talked almost like they used to. From a man who has lost his mind from strokes and dementia and has paralysis on his left side, he offers smiles frequently and tells us the nursing staff calls him “Anton” or “Tony Bologna”. The nurses were very upbeat and friendly, likely because we were there. Their jobs can’t be a treat everyday. No matter how much cheer they offer, it’s still a depressing state of living. I don’t have any major concerns about his care, but I don’t like seeing his false teeth and eyeglasses in his nightstand drawer! He needs them!
Dad is still Dad and I know this when I hear his familiar comments. He talked about the unwasted space in his new apartment and how it keeps the "riff raff" out. When asked, he’ll recite his birth date and social security number. But don’t ask him if he had a bath, ate lunch and breakfast. He won’t remember and gives his standard reply, “No.” He referred to the crab cake he devoured as the “Ace of All Aces!” and his own jokes make him belly laugh. It’s hard to follow his sequence of thought as he talks in circles and uses lots of clichés. Sadly, it’s mostly gibberish I hear, but I smile and nod, and listen for his frequent belly laughs.
On the next day we visited and he was in bed at 2pm. He was napping and tired but perked up for a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Hey, it’s junk food but serves as a real treat for my old Dad. We bought him a fake Orchid for his windowsill. For some unknown reason, hearing the word “orchid” made him laugh with delight! God bless and love him and the others he sits with in the dining room every day.
On Friday morning, we took the mountain route through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland for the first time. The views were spectacular from the car but then the dark, heavy rain pelted us for a few hours.
We need to trade in the SUV. Regular gas prices ranged between $2.98 - $3.16. Ughhh.
This is a memory. I've probably made more than 3,000 trips through this tunnel over the years. Before heading to north Baltimore on Saturday, we visited Mom’s grave and I was impressed with the way my brother decorated her gravesite for Mother’s Day. She’s resting under a large, beautiful oak tree. I miss her…
We visited Michael’s twin sister in Bel Air for a while then visited his parents’ graves north of Baltimore. His Mom died in 1975 and his Dad died in 2003.
On the way back south to Annapolis, I took this shot of the Baltimore harbor and skyline from the Francis Scott Key Bridge, near Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point. For a few years during the late seventies, I worked on the 31st floor of the tallest high rise located on Light and Pratt Street. Then, it was called United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company and the Baltimore Inner Harbor was in its earliest stages of building and planning.
When Michael told me he had made reservations at the Marriott in Annapolis, I thought we’d have a water view of historic downtown. Heck, NO! We were inland, close to Rt. 50. Ugggh. So, I stood on the balcony after we checked in on Saturday and saw something interesting in the distance. I had one hour down time in the hotel room before dinner, so I grabbed the camera and my key and said to Michael, “see ya later.” I skipped down the back stairs of the hotel, landed in an empty parking lot, and found a pond.
Scanning above, I saw this.
Now, hawk IDs challenge me as much as LBJs do. Susan will correct me if I am wrong but it looks like a Red-Shouldered Hawk to me.
A Gray Catbird is a lifer for me!
I had to get closer. I quietly thanked this bird before I stepped away and headed back to the hotel.
On Saturday, while crossing water under Riva Road in Annapolis, I told Michael to make a U-turn and park at the restaurant by the dock. I took my camera across the road, ignoring heavy traffic and those PIAs who honked their horns while I focused on this nest:
While driving by, I thought they were Bald Eagles but I need help with IDs. If my photos were better, I’d try harder.
Any help? Click to enlarge these photos.
Oh, I wish I had slid down the embankment to get closer. Maybe I would have been able to have the sun behind me.
On Saturday afternoon, I had a little down time in the hotel again and walked the hotel grounds. I love this shot of a Robin.
The first time I’ve heard the beautiful sound of a Song Sparrow...
We went to a birthday party for a dear friend on Saturday night at a restaurant in Rock Creek, off the Chesapeake. It rained but I danced!
On the way home. Sunday morning. We saw the other end.
a return Visit
4 years ago