Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jack & Jeff - Really intelligent people!

I really do love being around smart people! I love talking with them and seeing a bit of how their minds work. It's probably because I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box. Everyone has gifts and I'm just fine with that, but really smart people expand my understandings and my horizons in a way that makes me happy.
I'm not talking about the pseudo-intellectual or the intellectual that has to keep on telling everyone just how smart they are. I'm talking about the gracious, kind and true intellectual. I think those kind are more balanced socially and have many interests besides book learning.

I spent the afternoon Wednesday at my friend Norma's home. She was entertaining Jack, an 89-year old retired orthodontist from Walnut Creek. Jack's wife had a meeting to attend and Jack has Alzheimers so instead of we ladies playing pinochle, we played Scrabble with Jack.
I've known Jack for about 20 years but never knew him very well. He's a good looking fella and must have been off the IQ charts in his youth.
Jack was one of the original Lil Rascals. I don't know which one. He loves to tell you that he was! Many times, in fact. Jack entertained us all afternoon and was thoroughly delighted to be in the company of four women. He told us that quite often as well. He had many pieces of chocolate caramel hearts because his wife won't let him eat candy!!

But what was fascinating to me was to play Scrabble with Jack. I originally thought, "Well, this will be interesting. I wonder if we let him think a word is correct that really isn't. I wondered if we'd have to help Jack. Oh silly me!
Jack knows how to play Scrabble and is still quite good at it. Jack had a couple of words that I had never heard before, and they were not those 'odd Scrabble words' people use. We challenged him and we lost! Pretty hilarious. He did concentrate, and was not playing an easy game for himself. He was consistently trying to make the best word for the most points, trying to fit letters in within other blocks of words so he would get the most points. He did it quite often. I just sat there amazed and thought about the fact that if Jack could play such a game of Scrabble at 89 years of age with diagnosed and very noticeable Alzheimer's, what pray tell was Jack like when his brain was fully functioning. It boggles my mind.
I also came upon this when taking care of my son, Jeff....a very intelligent crayon! His MS had taken many routes through his brain, making the MRI look like swiss cheese, yet, time and time again, Jeff could figure out how to do something he couldn't do anymore, but in a new way -- all was still far beyond me. He still was able to converse intelligently and only occasionally did he have trouble finding the right word. Now I knew this kid all my life so I was familiar with how he 'used to be' and the struggles he did have during those difficult MS years. I often told him that to still be this intelligent with a swiss cheese brain, he was more fortunate than most.
I think he and Jack would have had a great time together. God bless them both.

1 comment:

ChaChaneen said...

I lurve Scrabble too and often play it on my cellphone. Sounds like you had a lovely afternoon with Jack and made a memory too!