Spizzle Jitney

SI commented on someone’s kitchen blog that I was growing low-fat, shredded cheese in my garden. Or so that’s how the words came out. That was in August 2011.

This is when my mother Emma’s dementia decline has reached the stage where she doesn’t say many words anymore. She hasn’t admonished me lately, even, with “You get your hands off my walker!” She just hits and kicks – oh, and sticks out her tongue. One day, though, as I am seating her at the dining room table and instructing her to put her feet under the table rather than to the side of the chair, she scolds, “Get your feet out of my way!” It is the chair legs. I am standing behind her chair.

Back in 2008, when Emma was still somewhat cognizant, and she had just gotten her walker, she didn’t fall for a while and she was still able to communicate and do some things for herself. Nevertheless, over the next year or so, some words came out funny, like the time my friend R came over and cooked dinner for us. When she was done eating, Emma got up from the table, took her walker, and as she passed behind R, still sitting at the table opposite me, said, “Spizzle jitney.”

“Spizzle jitney…?” said R.

“Yeah, I think so,” I said.

“What does that mean?” he asked.  She used to refer to her walker as her Caddy, like the Cadillacs she owned, so R wondered if she was referring to her walker. “Or, is she saying that it’s a jitney?” he speculated.

“No. I think she was thanking you, telling you ‘Special dinner,’” I replied. I still think that’s what she was trying to say. She doesn’t say much now, in August 2011, except “Thank you,” “Nice to see you” and “You leave my walker alone,” but back then, two to four years earlier, she would talk a little and some words and phrases came out funny.

Samantha Mozart

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