Saturday I went to town to visit some friends for the afternoon. Adding cat food as item 14 on the grocery list, I carefully took it from the front of the refrigerator, and put it in my pocket. Since I was going anyway, I’d make one trip do for everything. Frugality! Gas is $3.35 per gallon at the moment. I took my phone off the charger and put it with my keys so I wouldn’t leave it. For some reason, Larry tends to get cantankerous when I forget my phone.
Finally I was ready to go.
“Plan carefully,” I always preached to my children. “Then you won’t forget things.”
Feeling proud of my efficiency, I drove off to town, thinking about some of the times my family had been less than efficient. There was the time that Jakey lost the truck key and we turned the house, school, and scout hut upside down looking for it. We drove my car all over town retracing his stops and trying to find it. In the fall, the band uniform folks found it in his uniform pocket. By then of course, we’d had another key made.
Every parent of an absentminded child has been told on the way to school, “By the way, I need a sheet of poster board for science class. If I don’t have it, I’ll get a zero.”
“And when do you need it?” we parents inquire.
The answer never varies: “Today.”
Granted, this situation is no crisis anymore with stores open all hours. Back when my children needed Styrofoam balls, poster board, pipe cleaners and Velcro, stores opened at 9 a.m. and closed at 6 p.m. No exceptions for emergencies. It never occurred to them to tell me the day before. Telling me on the same day the assignment was made was unthinkable.
The funniest story of all happened in Dublin at a band competition. As a chaperone, I was climbing onto a bus to be sure nothing obvious had been forgotten. I’d filled my pockets with safety pins for clothing emergencies. We had tape, markers, scissors, and everything else imaginable. I was making one last seat-to-seat check when I heard Wally Shaw scream just outside the bus window.
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