At lunchtime, I would walk into the dining room in Supported Living to make my rounds. First, always, Evelyn—at 103 she was the empress of the table. Then Ruby, Jane, Gloria, Sue and last, always, Flora.
Ciao Bella I would say and kiss her on the top of her head.
You are my joy, she would say with a smile that lit up the room. Then I would carefully massage her slight shoulders.
What a dear, dear woman.
I rarely saw her at one of the painting classes but her appearances were memorable.
There was one class in particular.
Everyone, Flora included, took their places around the table. For each there were small pots of yellow and gold paint. The painting proceeded quietly until the color red was introduced.
Red! That’s a terrible idea! These are completely different colors. They don’t work together! It’s a terrible idea! She looked glumly around the table—clearly disappointed with the poor decision to use red.
And then they introduced blue.
Blue! She was clearly incredulous. This is worse than red! Horrible, horrible! Don’t use it! she warned. It won’t work! It will ruin your painting. Awful! She sat there shaking her head, staring at me mournfully.
But sometimes they put all four colors on the table at the same time. That must have been the case for her painting of Fall Leaves on October 6, 2015.
Ciao Bella. You are my joy!