I put one of Beau’s old Taylor Reflex Hammers across your lap. “Why?” You might ask even though you are all-knowing.
The answer is When.
When I was a young gal, my father used to test my deep tendon reflexes with a Taylor Hammer all the time. He’d say, “Brisk!” every time.
When I started swimming competitively, he noted that I was always fastest off the blocks and credited my reflexes. Even at swim meets, he always had a Taylor on his person—hanging off his belt, or in his shirt pocket. Beau the Neuro.
When I was born in the Philippines, Beau had a huge office desk made to his specifications. This is the desk that was home to the brain in a jar, many years later in Florida.
When my father started showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, long after he retired from his practice, Nora sent me his old desk from the Philippines. When it arrived, I opened one drawer and found six Taylor Hammers. Nothing else. Just those reflex hammers.
When I looked up Alzheimer’s and reflexes, I found this:
“Primitive or infantile reflexes become apparent in Stage 7 of Alzheimer’s. These reflexes are present in babies but normally disappear by the time a child has reached toddler age. They include the grasping reflex, the sucking reflex and the Babinski reflex, which is the curling under of toes when a finger or blunt object is run down the sole of the foot.”
Buddha, I place the hammer on your hands to bless Beau as his memories slip further away and his infantile reflexes return. When he’s gone, I shall remember my father as the one who always put me to the test and expected me to perform better than any norm. Precisely what he demanded from himself.