I’ve told this story so many times and I still smile as I tell it now and remember Mom’s surprise when we opened the Cottage Cheese.
On one of our customary shopping runs, she told me on the way to the store that she needed to buy fruit. Lots of fruit. She said she had a refrigerator full of cottage cheese and needed to buy fruit to eat with it before it ruined.
I asked why she had so much cottage cheese. She didn’t know, but assumed that she’d been purchasing it every week and forgetting to eat it. So we bought fruit; both fresh fruit and can fruit so Mom could eat all the cottage cheese in her fridge. I was already thinking ahead. If there was that much cottage cheese, surely some had ruined and soured and we were doomed for a clean-up mess as soon as we arrived home from our shopping trip. Living alone, she didn’t need the same amount of groceries that she had purchased when her husband was alive. I could imagine it would be difficult to change your thinking and purchasing when your family size shrank.
We brought in all the groceries. Piled the fresh fruit high in her fruit bowl atop the dining table and put everything else away. I did notice all the Cottage Cheese containers as I stacked and stored the refrigerated items. It seemed odd that I hadn’t remembered purchasing so many containers of cottage cheese, I thought, as I picked up one tub and gave it a shake. Something rattled against the sides of the plastic. Not cottage cheese, I’m thinking.
I removed several more cottage cheese tubs to the counter top, still uncertain but more than suspicious that it wasn’t cottage cheese I’d find inside.
And it wasn’t. The first tub held 3 fried chicken legs. The second tub held a half-cup of fresh corn, then 2 slices of bread, 3 boiled eggs, sliced cucumber, fried okra, and on and on it went. All those cottage cheese tubs held left-overs from many meals, yet mom didn’t remember storing a single one.
Mom’s bottom jaw dropped at the sight of the first bowl opening, then we giggled, and we giggled louder with each new discovery. Ours eyes teared and we laughed so hard that our stomach muscles ached as we waited anxiously for each new surprise in the next cottage cheese tub. It was the most fun we’d had in a long time.
One of the lighter moments that come with Alzheimer’s, and there are lots of them.