My party with some elderly folk

Mary Musilek

We were handed a box that read “Gingerbread Sleigh”; it wasn’t a house, it was Santa’s sleigh, complete with gingerbread reindeer and a clay Santa. Erin and I had been told to engage the members of Parkshore Center in the activity. We had to make the Christmas party enjoyable for the elderly couple that strolled up to our table and took a seat.

“What are your names?” we asked. “Hi, I’m Marge,” said the elderly woman sitting in the wheelchair. We then looked at the man sitting next to her, and he smiled and said, “My name’s Goody, goody goody!” We all chuckled a bit, not knowing if he was joking or not. He was a little spacey, never fully aware of what was going on, and it didn’t help that he had no interest in making Santa’s sleigh.

“This is so cute,” said Marge, “I’ve never seen one of these.” We all agreed that it was an interesting idea and we were excited to decorate Santa’s sleigh, but Marge seemed fixed on how cute the sleigh was, repeatedly saying so. Goody just sat in his chair, staring at the walls and occasionally glancing at us, before he randomly asked “can I eat the gumdrops?” Of course, we all smiled trying to contain our laughter and handed him the packet of gumdrops which he ate one by one throughout the night.
I handed Marge an iced gingerbread reindeer and asked what she wanted to put on it. “A red nose like Rudolph,” she whispered excitedly as she placed a red candy on the mouth of the reindeer. I took the piece, adjusted the candy to be on the nose, and placed it in the sleigh.

Meanwhile, Goody was given a piece to decorate, but no one was helping him. By the time we looked up from assembling part of the sleigh, Goody was busy nibbling away at the gingerbread reindeer.

“You weren’t supposed to eat that, Goody,” Marge said sternly. Goody stared at Marge, looked around the room, and then glanced at me before continuing to eat his reindeer cookie. I reassured Goody, although he needed no reassurance, that the gingerbread sleigh was meant to be eaten (even though we all assumed we would assemble it first). “Goody with another cookie…surprise surprise,” yelled the supervisor sarcastically from across the room.

Soon the Christmas carols started and everyone was handed a song sheet so that they could sing along. Everyone was singing and having a good time, and there sat Goody speaking the words loudly to the tune of the song.  About every word he spoke came a couple seconds behind the actual lyrics. He didn’t seem to notice that when we were on “bells” he was on “jingle”.

Apparently Goody had enough of the party, because the carols stopped and he announced that he would be “off to bed.” Bag of gumdrops in hand, Goody smiled and walked out of the room.