Dad looked amazing! When we approached him, he called out with joy, "Hey Man! Hey Luz! What a surprise! You both look good!" He was energized, present in mind and up beat in spirit - a sweet, sweet sight! After our greetings we conversed with the nursing staff and Dad sat behind us with other residents. One of his neighbors seemed unsettled. He looked at me, began pointing and shaking his head as he authoritatively asserted, "You're not squared away! You hear Me! You're not squared aware! This place isn't squared away! $%#@^!! You're not squared away! @^#&%$! Get this place squared away!" I smiled and kept speaking with the nursing staff.
The neighbor grew more agitated. I began to hear Dad chiming in, "Cool your heels now." The neighbor persisted. "This place isn't %$^$#@! squared away! HE'S not squared away!" Dad responded, "Let's be gentleman. Let's be gentlemen." My conversation with the staff continued when I heard Dad say, "Well, he's a little bigger and stronger than me, but that's my boy and he IS squared away!" The neighbor responded "#$^%&! your boy!" Then I saw the nurses eyes grow big as she called out to the another staff member, "UH, OH! MR. JACKSON'S ROLLING OVER THERE!" Fortunately, the nurse was faster than Dad and intervened. Also fortunately for us, dementia has a way of overriding memory and before long, the neighbor had settled down and he and Dad were engaged in a pleasant, cordial and gentlemanly conversation!,
The entire episode was funny but it was also deeply moving for me. Even with his movement governed, his presence of mind not always clear and other significant limitations, my dad still had my back! When he believed my well being was in question, he did all he could to protect me and those around me. The threat wasn't real, but it was real to him and he was willing to step in to the best of his ability. I thank God for my dad's love - a love that helps me better understand the love of my Heavenly Father and a love that sets the standard for I must love those around me as well. In that respect, let's stay "Squared Away!" Until next time...