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Visiting Felonious Bob and Grandma

I got the pharmacy scheduler to find someone to work last Sunday (Labor Day Sunday) for me so that I could go to Concord, NH, and visit Dad and Grandma.

My wonderful wife Karen took care of the plane, the hotel, and the rental car for me. I flew up on Southwest right after Shabbat ended on Saturday night, crashed, and got up the next morning to go to the penitentiary. It was easier to find than I figured. After seeing it, I realized that the hotel, the penitentiary, and my dad's old apartment (not the townhouse he bought, which he's now trying to sell since he got 3-6 years imprisonment) are all on the same route. I got there at 9:00am (which was bad since visiting times started at 8:30am) but I still finished my visit before visiting times were over at 11:30. It's Dad; when he runs out of stuff to say, conversation's over.

It took until 9:30 to get in to see him. Of course, the prison screwed up the paperwork, and had to sort it out before I could go into the visiting area. After getting in, he sat down and ranted for an hour. Dad's intelligent, and the stupid shit that goes on in prison really ticks him off. I could repeat it, but I don't see the need unless someone really wants to know. My advice is to not get arrested for something that means prison time. Afterwards, we talked for a half an hour about me, my family, and other life-type stuff, and I went on my merry way. He seems healthy (if bitter) and I think he'll weather the term of his imprisonment well, as long as someone bigger than him doesn't take a serious dislike to him.

I trekked back to the hotel, had some lunch, digested for a little bit, checked out of the hotel, and then got directions to the nursing home where Grandma is. Dad had spoken to the social worker at the nursing home about his upcoming imprisonment, and the advice had been that he shouldn't tell her that he was being incarcerated. If she asked, she would be told, but no one was going to volunteer information...presumably for her morale purposes. There was some confusion when I called, which became much clearer when I figured out that Dad's older brother Warren had visited just the day before.

Dad doesn't get along with either of his brothers. Warren is a recovering alcoholic (he vanished for 20 years into a bottle before resurfacing last decade) and somewhat schitzophrenic. Sam (the younger brother) is bipolar. Both of them have done quite unlovely things to Dad in the past, so I can see where the dislike springs from. It continually astounds me that my father is the psychologically stable one of the three, for what it's worth. Warren visits maybe once or twice a year, so the coincidence of us both visiting on the same weekend was fascinating.

On the way, I picked up some cacti at a flower shop. Grandma keeps her room very warm, which is not so good for your average houseplant. She looks well, although she hasn't progressed any in recovery from her stroke. Stubbornness can be bad for you as well as being a virtue in some instances. We spoke for a bit, where we could; her stroke left her with speech difficulties for which she would not accept therapy. I was never sure that she knew who I was (she never said my name) and it became clear that she was under the impression that Dad hadn't visited her because he'd stepped on a nail. The nursing staff was under the impression he was vacationing in Europe. I need to remember to send her a copy of a wedding picture, for her picture collection.

I left after about an hour and a half. I wanted to spend more time, but the more stressed Grandma got, the less able she was to talk, and I was getting tired. I hung out in Concord for a bit, looking for a few New England odds-and-ends that can't be found (or are more expensive at home) and then headed home.

I meant to send Dad a letter letting him know how Grandma was, but the business of the week meant that I hadn't gotten around to it. He called on Friday, right before I got home. Karen told him a few details of my visit to his mother, including that Warren had visited. She says she's never heard that many four-letter one-syllable expletives strung together before. He asked when he could find me, and she told him to call back this morning.

He called back this morning. I filled him in on what I said above. He confirmed that he doesn't think she has any senile dementia, just that she can't talk really well due to the stroke. He didn't curse about Warren, surprisingly. Uncle Donald (actually Dad's first cousin; he is Grandma's nephew) will be visiting Grandma next week in his role as her guardian, and he'll be telling Grandma that Dad's in prison. "Time to stop the charade" is how Dad put it. I told him about the possibility of my promotion at work (more on that later) and then mentioned my brother and mother. He was looking for my brother's cellphone number when the jail computer came on and shut down the phone call, for what reason I don't know. He hasn't called back, so I'm guessing we were done (or that they wouldn't let him call again) and perhaps he'll speak to Jay on his own. He still sounded good otherwise, so I'm guessing all is good.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
caryabend
Sep. 8th, 2003 10:59 am (UTC)
Europe?
Did the nursing home staff come up with the Europe thing on their own, or did they have help? My mother had relatives on the same European trip at one time.
sethcohen
Sep. 8th, 2003 11:45 am (UTC)
Re: Europe?
I didn't investigate further. I found the congruency interesting, as I'd heard about relatives of yours visiting Europe. Since Grandma wasn't to be told of Dad's European Vacation, I didn't want to spread things to the nursing staff if they weren't already aware of the circumstances. I may find out more at another time.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )