Junior Morgan watches television while his mom, Cathy Morgan, makes tea in the kitchen. When they don't go out, their evenings are relaxed as they spend time at home with their dogs (from left) Gabby, Missy and Cody.
As Cathy makes breakfast, she asks Junior if he wants to help with different tasks, such as turning sausage and making scrambled eggs. To avoid being bossy, she asks instead of telling Junior to help. “I’ll let him make up his mind about stuff,” Cathy says. They eat breakfast together each morning, waking up an hour before she needs to leave to clean houses.
Junior slowly backs his golf cart out of the shed as Cathy watches. He only drives it in the yard, cautiously switching between the gas and brake. Cathy occasionally drives the golf cart five miles on backroads to take Junior to Chaney’s Dairy Barn to get food and ice cream.
Cathy and Junior do a picture search game titled ‘Search for Santa.’ Cathy jokes with Junior as they search. “Why’d you look at me when I said to look for a cow?” Cathy asks. They also play Yahtzee and Bingo together.
Cathy helps Junior get ready to practice guitar. She turns the recliner, sets up the stand and music, adjusts his light and tunes the guitar. She also organized the folder with his music so he wouldn’t have to flip pages. “I played that really good,” Junior says.
Junior practices guitar for about 45 minutes every night. He also attends a weekly lesson. Because learning the chords helps him with memory and fine motor skills, his mom hopes it will help him avoid getting dementia. “I think keeping him busy will prolong it,” Cathy says. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, about 30% of individuals with Down syndrome have dementia in their 50s.
Junior participates in a workout in the 4:15 p.m. class at CrossFit Old School. He joked with the coach and encouraged the other people working out during the class. Junior has been going to CrossFit every day but Wednesday and Sunday for about 6 years. “I love coming here,” Junior says. “I’m working hard.”
Cathy always waits outside while Junior does CrossFit just in case he needs her, going inside at the end of the class to walk him to the car. Since Junior started doing CrossFit, Cathy has noticed his boost in confidence. “Everybody here doesn’t look at his disabilities. They look at what he can do,” Cathy says. “They don’t cut him no slack.”
Junior looks for a new book of inspirational quotes while at Barnes and Noble. After people told him how much they loved a quote he posted two years ago, he now posts one on Facebook each night, picking from one of the 50 books he owns. He marks in his books which ones he’s already posted.
Cathy and Junior talk about a post in Junior’s Facebook feed while eating dinner at Olive Garden. They often go out to eat and shop together. ìIf I suggest something, he’s all for it,” Cathy says. “Our relationship) is the best.”