Silly Question

The blanket I had given her was bagged in plastic, the thin, wispy plastic that dry cleaning returns in. The “bag” was a series of knots, a makeshift container created from a flat segment. I eyed it suspiciously and shrugged my shoulders as my dad picked it up.

“Mother, why is the blanket Lori made you in a bag?” Her pale blue eyes clouded over, staring at nothing we could discern, then she slowly turned her head to the plastic-encased blanket. Dad was about to repeat his question; we were never sure if she heard us or not, whether she wanted to hear us or not.

She slowly answered, “To keep it clean.”

Figures. Ever since I was a tiny girl, my memories of my Grandmother’s house were of plastic – thick, shiny plastic covering the couches and chairs, prickly plastic runners covering the carpet, slick plastic tablecloths covering the cloth tablecloths covering the linoleum kitchen table. Why would things be any different here in the nursing home?

“Lori made it for you to put over your legs, to keep them warm when you’re in your wheelchair. When are you going to use it?” Dad asked, much louder this time.

Without hesitation she shot him a “you crazy” look. “Law, when I take it out of the bag.”

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