Granddad’s Optimism – from A to Zinc

Granddad’s Optimism – From A to Zinc


What are you doing for Father’s Day?

I’m thanking God for my paternal granddad, who inspires me from A to Zinc! Since a blood transfusion he had during surgery in the 1990s, he’s had absolutely no taste in his mouth. But he is optimistic that his sense of taste will return.

Granddad will be 94-years-old next month. He’s lived a good hearty life, but the past few years have been challenging beyond denial. He’s become more fussy than before. He’s got aches in his hips, past heart attacks and strokes that must come to mind every now and then. He’s become the care-taker for his wife (his love, joy and partner of more than 70 years). But he believes his taste buds can be restored.

Grandma said God took away Granddad’s taste buds because his mouth had been so foul for so long. He had cussed and fussed at her. He used to call her “heifer,” she told me. “God fixed his mouth,” she said.

I had laughed and joked with him about his loss of taste. “Granddad I can cook for you now!” I said once, laughing. He had teased me about my cooking spaghetti every time I invited them to my home for dinner. When I baked him a chicken with rosemary, he laughed at my attempt at gourmet cooking.

“What’s these weeds in the chicken?” he teased.

Granddad had been an executive chef for Marriott Corp., where he worked 40 years before retiring, and pleasing his pallet had seemed impossible until he lost his taste buds.  He eventually learned to appreciate the love and effort that went into preparing a meal though. Since Grandma’s life-threatening surgery three years ago, Granddad’s been cooking all their meals, and Grandma has complained that his food lacks flavor, a criticism I imagine must have cut to the bone.  On Sundays, he treats her to a hearty meal from their favorite soul food carry-out and sometimes takes her out to a restaurant when he can get a ride. (He’s 94 and lost his driving privileges last year.)

Earlier this month, on our way to church, he mentioned that his doctor is prescribing a new agent to revive his taste buds.

“My doctor’s going to start me on Zinc,” Granddad said. “She said that’s going to bring my taste buds back.”

“After 30 years?!?” I said, not intending to sound doubtful. “You’ll have to let me know how that goes. If your taste buds come back, that’ll be something for me to remember forever.”

On the way home from church I decided I would make another spaghetti dinner for him for Father’s Day. If his taste buds are back, he will fully appreciate the flavors. If his taste buds are still absent he may appreciate the zest of my mere effort. At the very least, he will get another chuckle out of me offering another meal of spaghetti.







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