Plums and Paintings
There they all were, the portraits and paintings I’ve known for much of my life, hanging in a public place for all to see. I joined my parents at the opening of the exhibit of my dad’s work at the AACI Glassman Family Center in Jerusalem.
Two portraits stand out: one of Sahlee, my mom’s beautiful care taker; and Mom. Daddy captured the essence of Mom’s Alzheimer’s—she’s all there, but something is missing. The encroaching black background is a metaphor for the disease that is slowly taking her away from us.
Mom was in her element. She was in a situation where no demands were made on her. We sat together before the opening chatting amiably with friends and strangers. We enjoyed wine, cheese and watermelon. We gave each other hugs and held hands. Then we were treated to Daddy’s “tour” of the 20-plus paintings hung for the exhibit. Several times during the tour, Mom leaned in and excitedly said, “He’s wonderful, our dad,” or “That’s our dad. He’s so intelligent.” My dad? Her dad? I guess it didn’t really matter.
I loved being with Mom. And I loved hearing Daddy explain his art to everyone. It gave me new insights into some of his paintings, especially a self-portrait from 30 years ago colored by the news of our neighbor’s death.
When the event was over, we made plans to go to dinner with friends. Daddy went to get the car, and we were driven to the restaurant in a different car. Whereas up until that point, Mom was behaving rationally and enjoying herself, the small act of going in a strange car without her husband sent her into a panic. Whereas before, she seemed slightly forgetful, now she was obviously displaying strange behavior. Not even my presence was enough to calm her.
With a lot of verbal stroking, we managed to get to the restaurant. Mom worried that Daddy wouldn’t know where to find her, that the woman who was directing him (she couldn’t remember who that was) would make him lose his way. When he finally showed up five minutes later, she accused him of abandoning her.
Thankfully, even that didn’t last, and when I left to catch my bus, they were sitting happily together surrounded by their friends. Mom won’t remember being angry. Nor will she remember the enjoyable evening we had.
As I write about a small, intimate subject, the world around me is churning. First, the good news. Yes, there is good news. I must have missed this article in May, but my brother didn’t. “Israeli Discovery Could Reverse Alzheimer’s.” Israel is an innovative, exceptional country, and her scientists rank up there with the best! Let’s hope this research comes to fruition. Click here for the whole article.
And the bad news? We are gearing up for a war that none of us wants, that is being thrust upon us by Hamas terrorists who are literally terrorizing most of the country with daily rocket bombardments. We are now on the front lines, and we are sending our soldiers—our own precious children—into the maw of the conflict.
Pray. Pray, and eat pie. Plum pie, to be exact. We’ve had a surplus at our house, so here’s my favorite way to cook plums.
Israel grows a variety of plums, including the Hanita that looks a lot like the damson plum. This is one of our favorite summer recipes. Mom loves plums.
1½ cups canola oil
½ cup sugar
2½ cups flour
8 large or 12 smaller purple plums halved and pitted
3 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°. Beat sugar, oil and eggs in a bowl. Add flour to mixture to form the batter. Pat into a greased pie pan. Layer plum halves skin side up over the batter. In another bowl, combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle plums with lemon juice and dot topping over plum halves. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350°.