My dad, the rubber band man

There was a year or so where dad was still able to run errands on his own. This was sometime between the 2008 photo where his eyes began to look vacant and the burrito incident.

Mom would send dad to the post office to mail letters, usually a bunch of bills. The post office was not very far from their home. When she saw how forgetful he was getting, she started putting rubber bands around the letters. She’d snap two or three red, brown or green rubber bands around the envelopes, just as much to keep the letters together as to keep dad together enough to complete the task. All he had to do was place them in the outgoing mail box at the post office. It was a task he had done hundreds of times in the past flawlessly. Now it required a plan, a course of action.

Mom would tell my dad to take the rubber bands off the letters just before he dropped them in the mailbox. Then he was to wear the rubber bands on his wrist like bracelets until he came home. That was the sign that he had completely the task successfully.

And it worked for a stretch of several months or so. (At least, as far as we know, none of the bill payments were reported lost.) Dad would hold up his arms when he arrived home. Mom would peel the thin bands off his bony wrists, kiss him and tell him job well done.

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