One of the things I have enjoyed the most of my relationship with my Mom are the conversations. But I have noticed a steady decline in them. Not more than two years ago, I could converse with mom clearly for at an hour, talking about my school work, my art work which she always called my hobby, though I told her it was work, hard work. Invariably our conversations went on a side trip to Naranjito where she would recall her significant stories. Stories that reflected her joyful exuberant nature which always gave me delight, because we are alike. Her stories of running up the hill, washing the dishes, the tobacco barn or rancho, dusty and laced with tobacco leaves hanging down in several layers, her debates with "los puntos" or markers between her minuscule piece of land and Titi Juanita's little piece of land. She would also tell of her odyssey of getting a better education, which her father favored her with to the dismay of some of her sisters who lamented not being able to get their father's help. The chicken business her father managed for her as she went to Bayamon to study "comercio" and short hand. That curvy language, which is a secret code to many and with which she continues to recall even to this day. There are many more stories of la jagua, los novios or boy friends, the devil disguised as a young man at a dance, and the riddles and laughter. Conversations that could easily last an hour. Talk is not cheap when it comes to cellphones, so at times I had to monitor our calls, but no more. Mami is not having long conversations any more. She gets tired of holding the phone up to her ear and staying alert. Today our conversation lasted four minutes and ten seconds. No need to cut the call short. She blessed me twice. I love you, Mom.
But I hate Alzheimer's.