I have watched The Today Show pretty much since it began in the 1950s, with Dave Garroway hosting. There were times when I just watched it off and on, but for the last many years, I watch it every morning. I've been through all the anchors and co-anchors, all the scandals, all the format changes. I remember when Al Roker went through stomach stapling and dropped tons of weight.
I don't know exactly how long Al Roker has been doing the weather on The Today Show,but since the 1990s, replacing Willard Scott. He has made the weather his own with his unique reporting. When Roker is not there, Dylan Dreyer fills in for him.
I'm not sure how long she has been doing the weather on The Today Show, but for at least five years now. I remember when she and Savannah Guthrie were pregnant together, their babies born just a couple of weeks apart.
Now I mention Dylan Dreyer because I had an interesting thought about her and about my mother this week.
I have noticed that my mother seems to have difficulty separating real food from photos of food. When we have been to a restaurant lately, when she gets a menu she doesn't know what it is and tries to eat the food on the menu and has to be reminded that the menu is to give her the options of what she wants to order.
Even at that, when we were at Denny's lately, even after she had finished a bowl of ice cream, she still tried to eat the ice cream photo on the menu.
I thought about what could possibly be going on in her mind and then thought about it the last time I saw Dylan Dreyer doing the weather.
As I said, I have been a Today Show watcher for decades. I can recognize pretty much everyone who has been on that show, from Jane Pauley to Bryant Gumble, and even Ann Curry, fired after such a short time as co-anchor.
But as I watched Dreyer's weather report, I realized that try as I might, if she showed up at our front door, I wouldn't have a clue who she was.
Is this the sort of thing that goes on in my mother's mind? The inability to look at a thing (or in Dreyer's case, a person) and not recognize it for what it is, but to have no idea what it is? I've been looking at Dylan Dreyer more closely in the last couple of days and I still can't actually picture her in my mind as I write this and I know I would never be able to identify her anywhere else. Put the above picture in a line-up and I would not have a clue which one she was.
The brain is a strange and mysterious thing and the more I examine quirks of mine, the more I realize that the quirks become part of who I am and not a normal characteristic of the brain and that one day I am going to be one big quirk with no normal brain left at all.
Last night I watched Great American Read. It will be interesting to see which book is chosen as the favorite out of the 1,000 that are on the list. I have assumed it would be "To Kill a Mockingbird," but as I have watched the accolades given to a whole slew of books over the past few months, I'm not so sure any more.
Last night they were reviewing romance books, not my usual genre, but there was a lot of praise for Nicholas Sparks' "The Notebook," and people seemed to think it was the most beautiful love story ever. I thought I would check it out because I knew that the woman in the book ends up with Alzheimer's and I'm always interested in stories about how people deal with Alzheimer's. And it was a good book. I read it just about in one sitting (now that I am TV news free during the day!)
It's a beautiful story of first love, heartbreaking loss, and what happens when the lovers meet again years later. I guess it's not really a spoiler to say that Allie ends up with Noah, her first love, because that's what the book is all about--how he tries to help her remember their early life together by reading to her from his notebook after she begins to sink into the effects of Alzheimer's.
But my problem was that I just had difficulty relating to her Alzheimer's. She only briefly knows who he is, though he is with her every day in the facility where they live. He reads their story to her every day, and each day it's new story for her and she asks who he is and says she can't remember her name.
The problem is that with all of the other quirks of Alzheimer's, she never seems to lose her ability to speak eloquently and that is so far from where my mother is that I just can't believe it. She was losing her ability to make coherent thoughts even before she started not knowing who I am.
For the story to work, Allie has to be able to speak eloquently, but I am curious to hear if anybody else has read this book who has a loved one with Alzheimer's and if they, too, are bothered by the depiction of the post-Alzheimer's Allie, though however implausible the ending of the book may seem, it's still a lovely way to end it.
I'll bet Allie couldn't recognize Dylan Dreyer either.