Corn On the Cob, Please                     by Lori La Bey

The last thing any of us thought Grandma would want to eat was a piece of corn on the cob.  If you saw my Mother these days’ you would see her big beautiful smile.  The problem for most people is predetermining or judging what that smile should look like.  Most of the time my Mother’s teeth look like a rusted chain saw with fried rice stuck to them. 

My brothers and most others would comment, “They aren’t taking good care of Mom!” 

The truth is my Mother is cared for wonderfully with love and compassion.  It is not staff’s fault Mom wants to bite their hands off when they try to brush her teeth.  Hygiene activities are probably the highest ranking “fight modes” amongst Alzheimer’s patients.

Anyways, the corn arrives and the smell hits us all.  The aroma of fresh hot corn on the cob just makes you feel good and brings you to happy times.  Chipped, broken, and rotted teeth are irrelevant.  Grandma wants the corn on the cob.  I ask if she would like me to cut the corn off the cob.  She looks at me like I am nuts, and continues to bite and suck each kernel off the cob with a big peaceful look on her face. 

Mom did not even appear to know or care that the rest of us were standing by her.  She was in her own world of happier times enjoying a fresh piece of corn on the cob.  Her eyes found a new light and glistened with beautiful memories playing in her mind.   Watching her, I wanted to join her in the restful place she found.  How wonderful such little things, like smells, tastes, and sounds, can ignite our imagination and bring us to pleasant times. 

Illustration by Harry Pulver
Illustration by Harry Pulver

Three pieces of corn later, Grandma was full!


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