• author
    • Terri Connett

    • January 30, 2018 in Columnists

    Dad’s still saying the darndest things

    My dad’s friend, Martha, a fellow resident at his nursing care facility, is 93 and has all her marbles – and then some. Her paralyzed left arm and leg from last year’s stroke betray her otherwise unstoppable energy and razor-sharp mind.

    Nearly every time I visit, Martha tells me, “You’re a wonderful interlude to this life we’re forced to live.”

    No, Martha, you’re MY escape from the chaos President Shithole is cramming down our throats every fucking hour of every fucking day. He attacks the FBI, delegitimizes the free press, endorses racism, encourages Russia’s continued interference in our elections, and dismisses the sexual misconduct accusations from 19 women. But wait, there’s more. One month before the 2016 election, he paid hush money to a porn star for an affair he had a little over a year after he married Melania and a few months after their son, Barron, was born.

    Donald Trump is one big bushel basket of deplorable.

    Of course he obstructed justice. He admitted it to Lester.

    And of course he colluded. Trump’s ties to Russia are as long and red as the one he wears around his neck.

    And now the complicit Republicans are tossing turds on the Trump shit storm by threatening the checks and balances that would normally help us sleep at night.

    It’s become more than I can handle.

    I tried avoiding the news, but that doesn’t work. I’m afraid I won’t see the North Korean missile coming for my house. And more importantly, I might miss the Moron-in-Chief being dragged out of the White House in handcuffs, still holding a half-eaten cheeseburger behind his back.

    So MSNBC and CNN are on at home and accompany me on my hour-long drive to and from Dad’s place.

    But once I’m there, helping with bingo or leading a card game or just hanging out and talking with my dad and his friends, I escape into their world. But their lives are no goddamn picnic. Like all of us, Dad and his chums had hoped to stay in their homes until the end. Instead they are coming to grips with rules and compromise and sameness and institutional living. They navigate their wheelchairs around the really lost souls, frozen in time and searching for their parents or begging to go home.

    It’s heartbreaking.

    But it’s also real and honest and meaningful. And sometimes, thanks to my funny and irreverent Pops who makes the best out of any situation, it can also be uplifting.

    Here are some of his latest hits:

    • One of the ladies in my dad’s circle is 90-year-old, Hazel. My dad loves to ask her if she’s a nut and makes references to hazelnuts all the time. She somehow tolerates him.

    Out of the blue one day, Dad asked, “What’s witch hazel?”

    I said I wasn’t sure but thought it was some sort of cream.

    Martha said, “No it’s an astringent.”

    Dad nodded and said to himself, “Oh right, a douche.”

    • While we were playing cards, I checked my smartphone and Dad said from across the table, “Are you texting me?”

    • Around Christmastime, a new Certified Nursing Assistant came around to introduce herself while my dad and I were hanging out with some of his lady friends. The CNA was a young African American woman and her name was Tameka.

    Pops said, “That’s an unusual name.”

    I got a little nervous about what might come next.

    Pops continued, “Are you named after your mother?”


    She said, “No my mother’s name is Mary.”

    Pops asked, “Is your dad Joseph?”

    Institutional living
    • After Dad fell a couple times while transferring himself to the toilet, the nurse and I were having a serious discussion with him about using his “call light” to ask for assistance. He tried to joke his way out but we were having none of it.

    Me: “I’m sorry Dad. This is what you call tough love.”
    Dad: “It feels more like gentle hate.”

    • During a routine evaluation by the occupational therapist, Dad’s last task was to write a complete sentence. He wrote, “O say can you see me?”


    • A middle-aged couple was on a first-time tour of the facility for their parents. My dad was introduced to them as President of the Residents’ Council. The woman said, “Well this seems like a nice place.”

    My dad said, in a bit of a whisper, “They beat me.”

    I purposefully avoid talking politics when I’m with Pops and his friends. But it occasionally creeps in.

    Dad had CNN on and they played a clip from the Inaugural Address showing Melania in her smart powder blue outfit with matching gloves. I quickly turned the TV off before Wolf could utter a sound. And as I pushed my dad, and his wheelchair, out of his room I leaned over his shoulder and said, “I have to admit, Melania sure is beautiful.”

    And without skipping a beat, Dad said, “She’s no Michelle Obama.”

    Dad improvises to support the Women’s March during our annual Christmas shopping trip to WalMart.

      • Carolyn Wyler

      • January 30, 2018 at 9:43 pm
      • Reply

      OMG! I LOVE your father!

        • Terri Connett

        • January 31, 2018 at 8:57 am
        • Reply

        And he would love you too! What a great guy!!

      • Maureen M

      • January 31, 2018 at 8:32 am
      • Reply

      Oh Terri,
      You have no idea how much your visits to your Dads nursing home mean to me and I’m sure, countless others. There’s not much to laugh about these days and whenever I see this topic in your subject line, it feels like someone brought me a box of my favorite chocolates. Thank you

        • Terri Connett

        • January 31, 2018 at 1:26 pm
        • Reply

        Aw Maureen. Thank you. What a lovely thing to say!

      • Theresa

      • January 31, 2018 at 3:57 pm
      • Reply

      I so miss your dad!!!! Never a dull moment!

        • Terri Connett

        • January 31, 2018 at 4:19 pm
        • Reply

        We miss you too!! xo

      • Barbara Hokanson Hicks

      • February 3, 2018 at 6:23 pm
      • Reply

      Your Dad has a great hat! Great column, too.

        • Terri Connett

        • February 3, 2018 at 7:49 pm
        • Reply

        He sure does! And thank you!!

      • Maya Spier Stiles North

      • February 11, 2018 at 7:16 am
      • Reply

      Oh god, please keep this coming. Your dad is absolutely a prince among men.

      And I hate that quivering pile of orange vomit at least as much as you.

        • Terri Connett

        • February 11, 2018 at 1:14 pm
        • Reply

        Thank you, Maya! And my dad is my hero. As for Prez Shithole … I believe his days are numbered. That’s the only thing that keeps me going anyway!

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