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On the Tip of My Tongue: The Appropriate Response

A photo of Nancy NemecThis is such a great place to retire! My friends here have the answers to so many problems and are so willing to share. I just spent some time in Kansas with my two older sisters, and we had a great time talking and remembering and catching up on our families. We found that we had one little problem in common, and I was happy to tell them the solution I had recently learned.

It seems that as we get older we have trouble remembering or saying things that are “on the tip of my tongue.” When I worked in senior housing and nursing homes, I remember saying that a resident had “some trouble with word-finding.” But when it is you – it is very frustrating. My husband and I are lucky. We have been married so long that we can usually fill in the word for the other one; sort of like two halves make a whole. But there are times when we are not together, or when we both draw a blank.

The ultimate solution to this problem, however, is the wonderful phrase, “When do you need to know?” (WDYNTK?) This is the definitive answer because you always think of the answer later.

For example: “What was Mary’s first husband’s name? You know, the one that ran off with that cousin of Bob’s who taught school.”
“When do you need to know?”


“What is your cell phone number?”


“What was your secretary’s last name when you worked at First National Bank 27 years ago?”


“Who did you have lunch with yesterday at Bud’s?”

OR (most embarrassing)

“Who called a few minutes ago?”
WDYNTK? (They wanted you to call right back!)

If you sat near the coffee group I meet with, you would hear this phrase nearly every time. Like I said, this is a great place to retire!

Here’s a “Welcome Spring” recipe:

Grandma’s Asparagus Thing

Slice about 5 potatoes in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Slice 2 onions thinly on top of potatoes.
Cut asparagus spears in 1” pieces (2 cups) and place on top of onion.
Dot with butter or oleo and salt and pepper.
Bake, tightly covered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until potatoes are done.
Lay 4 slices of regular or low fat American cheese on top, and return to oven until cheese melts and “goes in.” Serve.

This is great for a carry in dinner. You lay the cheese on when you leave home, and viola! When you get there, it is ready to serve. All of the amounts and times are approximate. Leave the onions out, put more potatoes in, add the asparagus later in the baking period so it is not so done. You can cook this dish at 325 if you have to be out of the house for a while, or hurry it up at 400 if you watch closely. Enjoy!

5/4/2010 11:44:42 AM

Hi Nancy. I need to remember that phrase. When do you need to know? It will surely come in handy. I did try your asparagus recipe and it really is delicious. Our asparagus is coming in like crazy this year. Thanks for the recipe. Have a great day. Gafarmwoman Pam Life on a Southern Farm

nancy retired
4/25/2010 5:25:16 PM

Do try the asparagus recipe. It is really delicious!

nebraska dave
4/14/2010 5:37:12 PM

Nancy, I know what you mean with the tip of the tongue thing. Most people call them a “Senior Moment”. I just say that I have 62 years of information filed in my brain and at times it takes awhile to find what I’m looking for. The potato, onion, asparagus casserole sounds delicious and I’m adding it to my grit blog recipe folder. I too am glad Spring is here. My tulips and daffodils are blooming the most gorgeous blooms ever. I’m going to be sad to see them wither and die back. So far we haven’t had that last killing frost so maybe I’ll get to see them bloom for a while this year. Tomorrow starts the summer projects of which there are many. Thanks for sharing your recipes and enjoy the retirement.