Watching TV in our house can be confusing for anyone. I am embarrassed to say we currently have six television sets in our home, and each one works differently on how to turn it on, change channels and adjust the volume. Three of them use two remotes, one for the TV and one for the box, and a couple function with only one remote. The kitchen TV, in addition to using two remotes, you have to actually use the on/off button on the TV to turn it on, imagine that! We have placed sticky notes by the three TV’s Papa uses most frequently with instructions to give him some flexibility in where he watches his favorite shows. Fortunately he has been able to find one to work at all times.
After moving to Virginia Papa was excited to realize that we get some of the same TV stations that he had watched in Arizona. His memory may not be great, but he picked up that WGN is channel 29 and USA, TBS and TNT are 50-53 on day one. Between these several stations he is able to watch his favorites: Walker, Texas Ranger and Law and Order. Doug and I typically would not watch either show but would be able to tolerate an episode now and then just to spend time with him. One day we asked him why he likes these shows and were surprised at his answer. Doesn’t everyone like Walker? Cordell is tough and he has a good hat. Ok, I guess we cannot argue with that. We were not exactly sure how to respond to his comment and then he followed up with: I went to High School with Jerry Orbach, we didn’t really hang out, but we both graduated in 1952 from Waukegan High School. We learned something we had not heard before, Papa watches Law and Order reruns because they remind him of his past. It brings him back in time to 1952, to the kid he used to be and a time he remembers much easier than what happened yesterday, but most importantly to the memory of another classmate.
However watching nonstop episodes of Walker or Law and Order each day seems excessive, so we are encouraging alternate shows or activities when we can. We acquired a jigsaw puzzle to start building on the dining room table away from all television sets. We made sure he has a few of his word search books available around the house, which he completes like a part-time job. and we also try to find a daily project for him to complete. Fortunately being an Olympic year, we have asked him to watch various events during the day and fill us in each evening. This has led to interesting dinner conversation. The US isn’t doing so good. Really Dad, why not? The Russians were beating us in the Bocce Ball on ice event. Papa is proud of his Italian heritage and makes sure everyone knows it. They slide a rock, but it is like Bocce Ball. I wonder how much that weighs? I wonder why they sweep the ice? Is it a regular broom? Why don’t they wear skates? How do they choose players? Now my brother has an extensive personal library and if we were near him he would probably run into his home library, grab a book on curling, probably one dating back prior to 1952, and be able to answer all of Papa’s questions, but Doug and I use our resources and just pull out an iPad and start looking up the history of Curling so we can continue the discussion. And tomorrow, when we are not busy, I will pull out his high school yearbook and look for the pictures of both Papa and Jerry Orbach.