The Good Ol’ Days

I just got a newsletter from the Parkinson’s Association of the Rockies. During this time of social distancing, they are very kindly trying to stay in touch with the Parkinson’s community via semiweekly newsletters because they can’t offer their usual seminars, classes, etc. The newsletter I received yesterday was aimed at Care Partners. Caring for Care Partners, they called it. Some of their tips…

  • Enjoying a book or movie in a different room
  • Enjoying several 20 minute walks a day
  • Finding an online exercise class just for you to do
  • Finding a healthy recipe to follow and share with others

These are all good ideas, and I appreciate their concern about those of us who play an important role in the life of our PWP. However, I couldn’t help but notice that there was definitely a health-related slant. Two walks a day? Finding a HEALTHY recipe? This is supposed to make me feel better?

I know. I know. It’s good advice to try to stay as healthy as we can during this period of isolation. But the truth of the matter is that I don’t want healthy food. I want comfort food. I want pot roast and meatloaf and fried chicken.  Because they call that comfort food for a reason. I can’t even imagine being comforted by eating a quinoa salad with tofu. Nope. I want food my mommy made me when I was little.  Because nothing bad happened to me in those days.

Of course, that’s untrue. Lots of bad things happened in the so-called Good Ol’ Days. Our parents just didn’t tell us when the bank account was getting low and they were unsure how to pay the next month’s bills. My sister Bec remembers the Cuban Missile Crisis, but I don’t. It was late October, and I was probably more concerned about what I was going to wear for Halloween than the fact that our country might be annihilated at any moment. There was a polio epidemic in the 1950s, but all I remember is that I drank some red medicine out of a cup sometime in the early 1960s. Bec is the one who told me much later that she remembers that our parents would freak out every time one of their kids got a runny nose, fearing the worst.

Still, there were lots of good things about the Good Ol’ Days. And I came across one of them yesterday when I ran into Joann’s to find elastic for the hospital masks that Bill is now sewing. (Yes. You read that correctly. It’s Bill, so it can come as no surprise.)

Anyhoo, as I was standing in line, I glanced up and saw a display of gum. Now, I’m not a gum chewer. But this wasn’t just any old gum…..

Well, needless to say, I felt 7 years old again. In fact, I might have chewed some Black Jack gum after I drank my polio vaccine. I bought a package of Black Jack and a package of Clove, and took it out to the car, where Bill was waiting.

“Look what I found,” I said to him, showing him the gum.

“Give me the Black Jack,” he said excitedly. “I want to put it over my teeth to make it look like I’m missing teeth.”

Say what? Being a girl, I guess I missed this trick. Apparently the boys would chew the gum to soften it, and then put it over their teeth and open their mouths to show the girls. Mating rituals among 8-year-olds in 1959.

All I can tell you is that, like everything else, it wasn’t like it used to be. The Black Jack gum was not black at all, but a sickly color of gray that wouldn’t even come close to looking like lost teeth. Rotten teeth, maybe. The licorice flavor was substandard as well. As for the Clove gum, well, it was undoubtedly used to cover the smell of the three martinis you had for lunch.

I went home and made some comfort food for dinner!

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