“This exercise is for our memories,” Sharon, the activities director, said. She stood in the center of a group of gray-haired aged elders, most in wheelchairs or in chairs with their walker parked close.
Then she turned to Mildred, who had problems walking because of a swollen foot but her mind was still clear.
“Mildred, can you say a nursery rhyme for me?”
“Come back to me, “ Mildred said. “I’m blank.”
So Sharon went to the next person in the circle.
“Three blind mice…. And that’s all I remember!” Charles laughed. “How does it go again?”
Several chimed in with “…see how they run.” And he chuckled. “That’s it.”
Jim remembered “hickory, dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock.”
Sharon laughed. “What’s with mice today?”
Hazel, who was next in line, shrugged. “Eh, mice. We used to have a lot of them on the farm. We always had a cat for them. Lots of barn cats, of course.”
Sharon turned to her. “Do you remember a nursery rhyme?”
“Not right now. My mind is on cats and mice, I guess.”
“Ok.” Sharon worked her way around the circle until she got back to the start, where Mildred sat in her cloud of stuffed animals and fluffy pillows. “Let’s do another question.”
“Wait!” Mildred said. “I’ve been thinking the whole time you went around the room. I’m ready.”
“All right!” Sharon said. “What did you come up with?”
“Mary had a little lamb, her fleece was white as snow and everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go.”
Sharon clapped her hands. “Excellent, Mildred. Can you say the second verse?”
Mildred frowned slightly. “Well, no. I didn’t rehearse that far.”