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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Green

Ice Cream, You Scream

With the hot summer approaching, the residents of Mom’s care facility have weekly ice cream treats at tea time. A small cup of sorbet with a long-handled spoon. Mom is handed the cup and she automatically knows how to scoop a little at a time into her mouth, relishing every bite.

Not like her toothbrush. I tried to get her to brush her teeth this afternoon, but those automatic reflexes just didn’t kick in, and she wouldn’t let me brush for her either. I even sang the toothbrush song with her—a silly ditty she taught me when I was young—but it didn’t move her to spontaneously act on her recollection. I guess ice cream is more interesting. Maybe you never forget how to eat ice cream.

Mom was more interested in her reflection in the bathroom mirror, bemoaning her white hair and how her face is “gone.”

She must have eaten some green salad for lunch, because there were bits left in her teeth. I can only hope that she’ll agree to brush her teeth tomorrow. I’m not worried: the world will not end if Mom’s dental hygiene is lacking.

Instead of brushing teeth, we sit together and sing songs and look through a book that one of the staff had brought in for her, a huge encyclopedia of Labrador Retrievers straight out of the 1960s. Why bring it to Mom? It was in English. Mom liked the photos and the index with all the strange dog and kennel names. Frankly, it was putting me to sleep, but Mom enjoyed turning the pages.

We spoke briefly about my brother Simon’s upcoming visit. He’s arriving Friday for about a week. Mom doesn’t have a sense of expectation anymore, so I’ll be excited for the both of us. It’s been a while since his last visit. I wonder if he’ll see any changes in Mom and what they might be. She’s certainly paler than she used to be. When I hold her hand, I am consciously aware of the difference in our coloration. That’s what happens when you stay inside all day, every day.

On the whole, we are in a holding pattern. Mom is relatively alert when we’re with her. She eats pretty well, participates in the activities at the home, and sleeps through the night. She knew to call me “my Miriam,” today. (But then she also pointed to another Miriam somewhere across the room.) We must appreciate those responses while she’s still able to identify us as people she loves.

Warning, this salad will definitely stick in your teeth! I call it Israeli wedding salad because I have eaten it almost exclusively at weddings I attend. It consists fresh parsley, cilantro, and mint. I’m not wild about cilantro, but the combination of these greens makes the salad. Prepare for a fresh burst of taste with every mouthful.

Israeli Wedding Salad

There is no official weight to a bunch of parsley or cilantro. I generally buy a package in a plastic “sleeve” and use the whole bunch, minus a few stems. More than the amounts is the combination of herbs. Chop them coarsely or finely. It’s up to you.

1 bunch fresh parsley, washed and chopped

1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and chopped

½ bunch fresh mint, washed and chopped

½ cup craisins

½ cup toasted almonds

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 Tbsp date honey or brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste


Wash and chop parsley, cilantro and mint, taking care to separate out extra-large stems and discolored leaves. Place in bowl with craisins and almonds. In a small jar, combine lemon juice, oil, vinegar, honey/sugar and spices. Pour over salad. Toss and serve.

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