Monday, April 16, 2007

How I made mashed potatoes go through my brother's nose

How's that for an attention-getting title?

It's a true story, and it didn't happen when we were kids -- we were in our 30s.

Dementia itself is nothing to laugh at, but you have to find humour in everyday things, even if they're a result of dementia. Our Grandpa McIntyre had been a strong, athletic, very self-confident man. But in his later years, he was robbed of all that and his dignity, too, by dementia. He spent the last six of his 89 years living in a chronic care unit because of it.

One Christmas, while Grandpa was living in chronic care, my parents were spending the holidays at my sister's house in Ottawa. So a couple of days before Christmas, Danny and I went and got Grandpa, and brought him to Danny's house for supper.

Grandpa didn't seem to know who these nice young guys picking him up were, but he must have figured it would nice to get away from the hospital for a while. When we got to Danny's, Grandpa was extremely pleased to see Candy, my sister-in-law, calling her by name, and giving her a big hug and a kiss. That struck us all as a bit odd, because it's short-term memory that goes, and he had only known Candy for maybe 15 years, and Danny and me for our whole lives.

During supper, he started talking about my parents. He remarked how my mom -- his daughter-in-law, Cec -- was "a fine, fine woman". He then turned to me sitting next to him, and asked if I knew her very well. My reply, without a split-second of hesitation: "Oh yeah, she's like a mother to me."

That's when the mashed potatoes came through Danny's nose. He and Candy both left the dining room very quickly, into the kitchen, in absolute hysterics.

And that, boys and girls, is how I made mashed potatoes go through my brother's nose.

Ask me sometime how Native boys get their names, how it relates to Little Bro Dan and me, and how we used it to make my Dad snort and almost pee himself.

My name is Bob, and I come from a very weird family.


Ma Horton said...

I love family stories . Thanks for the morning laugh .

Newsguy Bob said...

'Sa matta? Chicken to ask about the Native name thing?

Ma Horton said...


JB said...

When I was a kid, my native name was 'Chews With His Mouth Open'.
Now, it's 'Walks With a Limp'.
(More on the limp in the weeks to come at

Newsguy Bob said...

Mine was and is Plays Baseball Like A Girl.

Maria said...

My brother used to make peas come out of his nose just to make me laugh. How gross now that I think of it.

Newsguy Bob said...

We used to play Seefood, a.k.a. Look.
We threatened to play it at my sister's wedding with the green pistachio pudding that was served for dessert, or to "accidentally" sneeze it onto her wedding dress.
I don't ever want to grow up.