A Star Is Born
Reader's Digest Canada|December 2020
A Star Is Born
A chance encounter with a waiting room songstress pulled my dad out of his Alzheimer’s fog
Deborah Stock

A FEW YEARS AGO, at a medical laboratory clinic in Waterloo, Ont., an elderly woman sat on the edge of a waiting room chair belting out the Celine Dion tune “My Heart Will Go On.” Other than a slight rhythmic rocking of her torso to the Titanic theme song, she was motionless, with her eyes shut and her arms crossed elegantly over her chest. With little effort, she was able to send her sweet, high-pitched voice exploding into every corner of the clinic.

I had fun watching how people reacted. There was a lot of shifting in seats and a couple of stony sideways stares, but mainly they awkwardly averted their eyes and tried to pretend that there was nothing out of the ordinary going on. Business as usual. This sort of thing happens all the time.

I was at the clinic with my father, who was getting a routine blood test, when the woman first arrived. She settled into the seat directly across from my dad. Because she was so tiny, she was forced to perch on the edge of the chair so her feet could touch the floor. The position made it seem as though she was sitting forward to engage in conversation with him. She smiled at him and he smiled back.

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December 2020