Cousin Fred

From Ireland we fly to Manchester to visit with Gordon’s family. I have a rule that I don’t write about family and I don’t write about friends. But I’ve never been very good with rules, even my own.

Gordon has a cousin, whom I shall call Fred, because that’s his name. He is 92. He was great fun when he knew where he was and who we were, and he is still great fun now he remembers next to nothing. I know he wouldn’t mind me writing about him. It would have made him laugh when he was the old Fred. And it will still make him laugh today if someone reads it to him and tells him that it is about him.

Fred’s son, Tony, arranges for us to visit him at the home. Tony comes with his wife and daughter, and Graham, Gordon’s brother, comes with his partner. We have a party on the lawn of the home, sitting under sun umbrellas on a perfect sunny morning.

We had arranged to get there at 11am and everyone arrives promptly, except Fred, who is still eating his breakfast when we arrive. He is delighted to see us because that’s how he is. He actually remembers that Gordon and I are from America because Tony has been telling him everyday for the past week that we are coming. He remembers the America bit, but not who we are. But he doesn’t mind. Nor do we.

Fred is smartly dressed in khakis with a light sweater over a shirt, all carefully colour co-ordinated. He looks tanned and healthy. His face is remarkably wrinkle free and you would easily take him to be twenty years younger than he is. As we make our way to the garden, Tony hands Fred his hat, which he dons at a rakish angle and grins. He looks great, and happy, and just a little bit devilish

2363 Fred2Fred always had a wonderful sense of humour, and although his memory has left him, his humour has not. We all sit round in a circle chatting.

Fred follows the conversation perfectly and joins in with his quips. We wonder why he was still eating his breakfast when we arrived and ask him if he had a good nights sleep

“Oh yes” he replies, “I never have any problem sleeping”

He pauses before the punch line, his delivery perfect, “It’s waking up that I have difficulty with”.

During a lull in the conversation, Tony asks Fred about his favourite member of staff at the home, a young attractive Thai woman who Fred loves to flirt with.

“She helps me with my bath” Fred says

His eyes sparkle with humour as he continues “She runs the water for me. Then she gets in it to see if it is the correct temperature. Then she asks me to join her”

We all start laughing and Fred is delighted. He clearly loves having company and telling stories.

Eventually Tony says he has to go, so we all say our goodbyes to Fred. As we start to leave he calls over to the staff “They’re leaving. Check the silverware”

More laughter.

Outside we thank Tony and tell him how much fun the visit was.

Tony says that the sad thing is, that in five minutes Fred will have forgotten we have been.

We tell him it doesn’t matter. Fred clearly enjoyed every moment.

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23 Responses to Cousin Fred

  1. David says:

    Beautiful syory – thank you

  2. Graham Bond says:

    Brilliant, and be there soon no already there apparently! Graham

  3. Colette says:

    “Great fun”, “smartly dressed”, “a wonderful sense of humor”, a lovable guy – runs in the family! xoxo

  4. Pat says:

    At least his heart is light and his spirit is free. He is living the life he has now, and that cannot be a bad thing.

  5. robert says:

    Wonderful story my friend, I hope your planning a book soon, can’t wait to read it!

  6. Dan Blackwelder says:

    How sweet, and how fortunate you got to have that visit. He sounds like quite a character…..explains a lot about our dear Gordon.

  7. Bonnie says:

    Lovely tale. Hope someone is around to write such nice things about me.

  8. Char Bailey Crowe says:

    Perfectly wonderful; I think Fred may be perfect for me.

  9. awc49 says:

    Thanks for posting this… it is as you know my birthday and this makes me feel that there is hope for this aging old one… he sounds amazing, would that I am like that at his age.. xxx

  10. What a lovely tribute to Fred. Thank you for sharing it.

  11. susiemargaret says:

    hi, andrew —
    what a moving account of a lovely visit. thank you for sharing it with us.
    — susie margaret

  12. Lovely… great post !!

  13. jenni CATLOW says:

    The guy is amazing and what a wonderful time he had with you all. Fred is quite something and so are the staff if he is that happy. You all gave him a most wonderful day .

  14. Evan Anderson says:

    YEH !!! to Fred ! fun moments. cheers.E

  15. Char Bailey Crowe says:

    I love Fred; I think I may have known him at an earlier date… you guys!

  16. Laurens Huston says:

    If only we could all be Fred

  17. Mark says:

    Everyone of us will become Fred, I just hope who ever writes my Fred is an Andrew or a Gordon ….

  18. Andy and Graham says:

    Agree with Mark’s comment, and just hope that I can have that pleasant disposition, and ability to participate for all to enjoy!!!

  19. Maryjane Simmons says:

    Fred sounds like a wonderful person. I was deeply touched and feel I was standing back watching and listening to his family.

  20. Maryjane Simmons says:

    Fred sounds like a wonderful person. I was deeply moved and found myself standing in the
    back ground listening to his family.

  21. Judith says:

    Sad to hear that, I know you were very fond of him! What a good memorial and photo of a great character to remember.

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