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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Down Home: Thank goodness for Legos and fond memories

  • My stomach churns with nervousness on the way to see Dad. I'm not sure if I'm anxious because I never know who he thinks I might be that day or because I still feel guilty he's there and I'm not with him.
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  • My stomach churns with nervousness on the way to see Dad. I'm not sure if I'm anxious because I never know who he thinks I might be that day or because I still feel guilty he's there and I'm not with him.
    I constantly wonder what he's doing and miss the every two-hour stops by his house. After removing all his things from the home I grew up in, it's unbearable to go over there, as it sits empty and quiet. There's so much work to be done in order to sell or rent it, but I get swept away by memories and emotions every time I even drive by.
    I miss seeing him at the dining room table, bird watching and telling crazy stories about make believe people and episodes with the law or FBI that would take place just before my arrival. I miss trimming his hairy ears and helping him dress for the day. Even though I know the staff at his new home is more capable of taking care of him than I am, I still struggle with the feeling that I abandoned him.
    This week's warmth would have brought him outside to his picnic table with his dog as they enjoyed a cold Coke and a smoke. The dog didn't like soda, but I'm sure he breathed in enough smoke to feel like he had eaten a cigarette.
    After finding new owners for dad's dog, they took him to my daughter who's a veterinarian for all his shots and a good bath, but we haven't heard since on how he's doing. Hopefully he lost the 30 pounds he gained while living with dad and is happily playing with his new family.
    Most of the times I visit Dad, he's sitting in the dining room, people watching or fiddling with something the staff has given him. When he gets bored he still tries to go outside and while setting off the alarms, realizes he should come back in. When he was at home, he would open the front door and look up and down the street a couple of times at least every 15 minutes. I believe that's his motivation now for opening the door to his new home, but I'm glad they have an alarm, as you never know when he might decide to take off walking.
    On this particular visit, he was sitting at the table putting together plastic Legos, and I could tell he didn't know who I was. We sat there for awhile taking apart and putting together a tower of Legos when I noticed the bottom of the bucket had felt letters of the alphabet. I spelled out my name in front of me. Curious to what I had "made" he checked it out, intensely, and then said "that spells Sandy."
    Page 2 of 2 - "That's me," I said, and for a brief moment his eyes lit up, he smiled and said, "you know I love you," and then the moment was gone and he went back to his Legos.
    Next time I go, I'm wearing a nametag.
    Sandy Turner lives in the Kansas City area and writes this column for GateHouse Media.

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