This past week I visited Hebrew Home of Greater Washington to play music for the residents before dinner time. I walked in to the usual blaring of the local news while residents blankly stared into space from their wheelchairs or slept. I began to unpack my violin as the news had continual coverage of the shooting in Las Vegas. I approached the TV to mute the sound and smelled something sweet and sugary. Immediately I saw a resident sitting by the TV covered in chocolate while she polished off her candy bar. I thought of the Chocolate Guy from Spongebob and Scene from the first Dumb and Dumber movie where the father walks into the bathroom and mistakes the chocolate for a much less savory brown substance. The resident placed the wrapping of the chocolate bar in her lap as she tried to slide the remote across the TV stand. I tried really hard not to laugh because she also reminded me of the numerous times my Niece somehow manages to cover her entire face with sweet potatoes while my sister feeds her. I smiled as I turned the TV off and tuned to violin to begin the music.
While I played “She’ll Be Comin Round the Mountain” the chocolate covered resident laughed with a gleeful expression on her face and clapped her hands. For a moment, she resembled a kid sitting on the curb by a candy store chuckling along with friends without a care in the world. One of the aides saw all the chocolate and calmly walked over with a washcloth. The laughs disappeared and the resident became angry. She didn’t want help or to be bothered nor for the chocolate wiped away. All she wanted was to listen and enjoy the music. I switched songs to You Are My Sunshine in hopes of distracting the resident with a familiar tune so the aide could wipe away the chocolate. The resident battled the aide and refused assistance while turning back towards me and smile. Eventually, the resident accepted help but there was too much chocolate for a small washcloth.
After the music I began to walk away and the residents appeared lively. A few called me over to thank me for the wonderful playing and shared they hoped I would come back. The great thing is that I get to go back next week and share another experience.