Visits with Dad have gotten both harder and easier. Harder in that his health and memory are failing and the domestic situation is not ideal. Easier in that I can reuse the same "material" again and again. I let him know what my family is up to, reminding him along the way how many grandchildren he has and what their names are. Then there are a few "go to" topics that hold his faltering attention even on a hard day. Life on the farm when he was growing up. Cars. And best of all....my phone.
I only got a "smart phone" a short while ago. Stubborn I guess, or perhaps my increasing mobility finally made it essential.
My dad finds it endlessly fascinating. This little rectangle of plastic that can do so many things!
Using the voice search function the entire accumulated knowledge of mankind there for the asking. Since it is internet based you also get the accumulated ignorance, but it still makes an impressive trick. "Show me Packard automobiles". There they are. With his somewhat frail voice you get some interesting misreads. "Minneapolis, Minnesota", where he used to live, somehow became "Minneapolis...sore" and a listing of chiropractors!
But the most astonishing trick for him is taking a short movie and playing it back for him. I do this every visit now, you never know which one will be the final entry. Here is a recent cinematic tour de force...
How amazing it all is for a 92 year old whose fascination with cars in part is due to his having started out with draft horses. And really, since I understand the magic a little better than he does, it is every bit as amazing to me.