A Simple Coffee Cup

Almost started a RIOT!

Since I visit my mother at the Care Center where she lives, during the week, my brother, Danny, usually visits her on the weekends. However, Danny, and his wife, Bea, are moving into their new home over the next two weekends so I told Danny I would look in on mom for the next two weekends as well as during the week.

I arrived at the Care Center this morning at around 10:30 and helped mom do some word puzzles in the activity room until 11:00 when bingo started. Everything stops when bingo starts and I mean everything. The activity director calls out the numbers and if one of the residents doesn’t hear what number was called and asks for the number to be repeated, most of the other “serious” bingo players will scream out the number then tell the person that missed the first call to “shut up” now so they can get on with the game… key word here for me was “GAME“…it’s just a game people… Of course, I know better than to say that out loud in the bingo room. Never in your life, not this girl… 🙂

So, we managed to get through four games of bingo without anyone getting hurt, except perhaps their pride, then it was time to go to the dinning room for lunch. Wow!!! What an experience that was… You see, when I visit mom during the week, I get there around 8:30 a.m. and stay until just before lunch time…so thus far I have been spared the lunchroom scene… After today all I can say is Thank-You Jesus!

Everyone is assigned to a table of four, and under no circumstances do you EVER sit at a table other than the one you have been assigned to. In fact, from what I now understand is an unwritten rule by the residents, you don’t even approach another table. My mother happens to have the first table when you walk in the dining room door so she has a clear view of everyone throughout the entire dining room. But, since my mother’s back is to the door, she doesn’t see the residents as they are coming in or are being brought in by the aides.

So I’m sitting there talking with my mother as residents are coming in and all of a sudden my mother started yelling “you bring that back, you bring that back here right now…” to a woman who had just passed our table. This all happened so fast I didn’t have time to notice what caused the disturbance but I was trying to get my mother to calm down enough to tell me what was wrong. When I was finally able to get mom to tell me what happened she said “that woman just took a coffee cup off our table and it belongs to my tablemate Joan.”


I looked over and sure enough the woman with her back turned to the camera with the gray sweater on had the coffee cup In question…


Then, all of a sudden, another resident in a power wheelchair came rolling up almost out of breath saying “I saw exactly what happened and that woman did take that coffee cup off your table. Now I’m thinking, as I’m sure you are by now too, what the hell is the big deal…let’s just get another coffee cup right? Wrong!

Apparently, in the pecking order of things within the Care Center, established by the residents themselves, that goes against all the rules and absolutely will not be tolerated! No, within a few short minutes the whole dining room was in an uproar and residents started taking sides…Now the woman in the power chair started telling my mother if she had been siting at mom’s table when the other resident took the coffee cup, she would have broken her arm! Are you kidding me? I thought this is a Care Center full of “sweet” little old ladies and men, not some prison full of hardened criminals…

So now, that the whole dining room is in complete havoc, one of the aides went over to the woman who started the whole thing by taking the coffee cup off the table she was not assigned too and the aide tried to get the coffee cup back from the woman. But, the woman started screaming and crying and was holding onto the coffee cup so tight the aide couldn’t pry it out of her hands… By this time I turned to my mother and said “if that cup was for your tablemate Joan, where is Joan?” I said “it looks like all the other residents are here so where is Joan?” My mother looked at me and said “Joan isn’t coming to lunch in the dining room today because she is having lunch with her daughter.” OMG, OMG, now I’m thinking I’m having a nightmare! I said to my mother “if Joan is not even coming to the dining room for lunch today what difference did it make if that woman took that coffee cup?” That’s when my mother told me “you just don’t understand that around here, you can’t just let people get away with things or they will just run all over you…”  I was speechless, which if you know me at all, you know that doesn’t happen often…

When I finally found my voice again, I smiled my best smile and said OK would you like to eat your lunch now before it gets cold? Mom wasn’t really convinced I understood the importance of looking out for your tablemate, even if they are not going to be there…but she agreed to eat her lunch of chicken cheese crisp, salsa, refried beans, and chocolate cake, and we left it at that…


I told mom I was proud she was able to “let the incident go”. She patted my hand and agreed to let me take her picture because I told her I needed it for documentation for my brother, Danny, that I really did participate in the dining room drama at mom’s care center… Let’s just say growing up with Danny, I love him to the moon and back, but I’ve learned to document things, especially if I am doing him a favor…


Even though the whole dining room drama today was traumatic for all the residents in the dining room, I’ve spent enough time at the care center with my mother, that I’ve come to understand, from observing the residents, some who have family and a few possessions due to lack of space to keep things, and some who have nothing except what is given to them by the care center, they all have a sense of “if it’s mine, or I perceive it to be mine, or I’m watching over it for someone who isn’t here….DON’T TOUCH IT, even if to you it just looks like a simple coffee cup!

Stay Tuned!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 02:45:05

    Absolutely your best post EVER!!!!!!! I will be laughing for the next few hours… xoxo big time.


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