“Throw the pie in my face” I goaded Mr Smith, one of the nursing home residents.
“I can’t” he replied. Mr. Smith looked at me with a caring look, through his big blue eyes which always cast an innocent sparkle.
“It’s OK, Mr Smith. Today you’re supposed to throw a pie in my face; please!”, I commanded.
Mr. Smith grinned, and mustering all the courage he could, he cocked his right arm and, without hesitation, threw the pie in my face. The gentle impact I expected turned out to be a powerful slap.
I lost my sight for several seconds as my eyes were completely covered with whipped cream. I heard voices and laughter, all combined with the upbeat music playing: “Heeeeey Macarena ...AAAhAA! Dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena... When I dance they call me Macarena’”
Mr. Smith was laughing. The residents were laughing.
How hilarious to see the social worker with her face messed up, with her nostrils plugged with thick cream!
And I laughed too.
Pie throwing was part of the activities for that day. “Do you want to volunteer?” the activities coordinator had asked me early that morning. I felt awkward at first.
“Me? It will be messy and embarrassing,” I replied.
But my thoughts switched quickly to my residents. They would be outdoors, enjoying not just the nice weather but the fun activities scheduled as well.
Why shouldn’t I be part of it? Why wouldn’t I put aside my personal appearance to humor the residents and just relax and have fun as well?
Silly me! I chided myself.
“Sure!” I answered.
And I was glad.
I had the opportunity of letting Mr. Smith have a blast. I made him laugh.
I had met Mr. Smith a few years ago. Then, he was a very ill, bed-bound and quiet man. A person who didn’t normally smile. He was a kind gentleman, but not a man with much to look forward to, at least in his mind.
Now, a couple of years later, he is a different man. He actively participates in social gatherings and outings. He wears a smile on his face, and openly laughs at humorous moments.
He is a man with the strength to slap a pie in my face.
That night at home, I reflected on the event. I was pleased with the experience, yet it bothered me that I hesitated when initially invited to be “a pie target”
I asked myself: am I limiting fun and joyful moments in my life lately because having fun wasn’t always practical? Am I avoiding putting myself in embarrassing circumstances to the extent that I am missing amusing time with loved ones and the people I care for?
I hoped not.
I looked back in time and recalled a few times when I decided to be brave and venture into daring events. One time I remember wearing a Halloween costume in the nursing home, and then later around the neighborhood with my children.
On another day, I ended up dancing on a stage in one of the music shows in Branson, along with other volunteers from the audience.
Embarrassing moments? No. Not at all.
Fun memories? Certainly.