Grandpa and I go to the pool on Tuesdays while Grandma runs errands and it’s the highlight of my week. After his stroke, his short term memory is no longer in working order. Sometimes I think he knows who I am and then other times I’m not sure. He always knows that I’m someone he cares about, I think. Today he seemed pretty with it. He wrote a note for Grandma that said, “Gone to the pool at 2:45. Love, Dad and Beth.” I smiled when I thought about how he found the paper, a pen, and knew my name.
We always hold on to edge of the pool and kick our feet. In the past he has joked, “I’ve kicked enough to make it all the way to Clearwater Beach and back.”
About three minutes into the kicking he asked, “How many miles have you gone?”
“Oh, I’m only on six,” he smiled.
“Keep up, Grandpa!”
He then said, “We should’ve written a note for Grandma. She won’t know where we are.”
A man in a Coast Guard shirt walked into the gated pool area. He was about fifty feet away when Grandpa said, “Who needs the Coast Guard in here?” The man I know as Charlie didn’t hear him. Grandpa tapped my arm and said, “I guess I wasted a good line.”
Then he said to me, ”Well I’ve gone about fourteen miles.”
“Fourteen?! I’m only on twelve.”
About three minutes passed and we talked about what I do for work and if I’m keeping myself busy. Then he said, “I’ve gone seven miles.” He laughed and I didn’t know if he was kidding or if he had forgotten that he had already been fourteen.
We spoke about the magnolias and old oaks and the weather as a storm was coming our way.
“Thanks for letting me come to the pool with you,” I said.
“Oh precious, come anytime. Come with me or come with a fine young man.”