By Vicki Rogers
When I was just a single-digit young girl, my Grandfather Rogers, who in his prime was a burly and strong man, had a stroke. When he became very ill my Grandmother Rogers took care of him at home. I don’t remember his voice, but I do remember his decline: at first he walked with a cane; then he was confined to a wheelchair; and finally he was bedridden until his death when I was in my early double-digits. When he was still walking with a cane I remember he taught me how to whistle but that is just about the only pleasant memory I have of him. This is largely because my grandfather ate bananas. He loved bananas. Long ago on Saturday nights, in my grandmother’s house, we used to mash them up and feed them to him. I remember my grandmother always let the bananas get over ripe then; they were easier to mash she said, easier for grandpa to swallow. Sitting in his wheel chair in the living room with his constant disappointed stare, he’d point with his last straight finger to bananas on this sort of cardboard food Ouija (“Wee-Gee”) board she had made with all his favorites on it. I watched him while everyone else watched Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour on television. His tongue used to scare me when I was eight, the way he used it like a spatula to scrape the brownish pulp back and forth between those toothless gums. The banana, the consistency of snot, would squish out the sides of his mouth like drool. I thought it was so gross and I gave bananas up for a long while. I have issues with bananas to this day; but now, with one molar missing, I’ve begun to eat bananas again.