|Playing 42 - Dad is wearing the blue ballcap.|
Photo by Pam Stephan
You see, most of these seniors may need walkers, or have knee replacements, or hearing aids, but their memory works well. They come in and head for their favorite game table, sit at their regular place next to their buddies, and play for all they're worth. Every week, every year, this is how they start their week. Dad's memory is - in his own words - "Shot!" He's been dealing with dementia (a word I hate with a special loathing) for at least 7 years and more. His short term and long term memory is faulty. The big exception in his case is: Dominoes.
No matter what else he is coping with, Dad can whup most anybody at Dominoes and is a keen partner at the venerable game of 42 (see the photo). I joke that he was born with the Double 5 in his mouth and cut his teeth on it. He's never cared to deny it.
We met up with a man named Micky - not his real name - who says that he has a faulty memory due to brain injury that he got in a car wreck. Despite this, our new friend is just as nuts about Dominoes as Dad is. He anticipates what other players will score and usually has his own "rock" ready when his turn arrives. Dad and he play with a rhythm born of long experience. I just about keep up with them, as well as keep the score pad updated. Micky appears to have an unlimited endurance for the game, and I wish we could meet up with him so Dad could have another person to keep company with. We think this man lives in a group home and his hours are rather regulated. But it would be wonderful if a guy with a brain injury and a guy with dementia wound up helping each other cope.
Just by playing Dominoes. It could happen. Couldn't it?