Friday, April 28, 2017

#435 I Have Officially Lost My Mind

My memory is horrible.  I used to “never forget a face” but now I meet someone and a few weeks later I forgot that I met them.  Names of people I know suddenly fly out of my head.  A few weekends ago I walked out of Ace Hardware, smiled at a young woman and then saw my nephew walking 20 feet behind her.  “Hi Aaron!” I said happily.  Then I turned and looked back at the woman, who looked at me like, “Who am I, chopped liver?”  It was Aaron’s girlfriend.  Ooops.  I managed to quickly say, “I’m not used to seeing you by yourself.”  To my defense, I had only been around her twice since last October and one of those times she was wearing a shark costume for Halloween. 

Recently, I drove home from work and as I turned into my driveway, I spotted a box on my front porch. The box had L.L. Bean on the side.  I didn’t remember ordering anything from L.L. Bean.  Earlier that week I had perused a Land’s End catalog.  Or was it L.L. Bean?  (You start questioning yourself.)  Did I order something by mistake?  I had looked up things on my phone.  These thoughts went through my head as I pulled into my garage. 

I have had the rare instance where I’ve seen a charge on my credit card statement and not remembered it, only to look for the receipt and then say, “Ohhhhh.”  I wondered if this would happen.  And if it did, I needed to see a doctor. 

After I retrieved the box, I saw the shipping label.  It was from my friend Tammy who lives in Florida.  She told me a couple weeks prior that she would send me some clothes she was getting rid of (she’s 6’3”).  I laughed out loud.  I really thought I had lost my mind.  I’m glad to see that, for now, it’s still in my head.  

Friday, April 21, 2017

#434 Always Go To The Funeral

My parents have subscribed to Reader’s Digest for approximately 20 years.  I have always enjoyed reading the small magazine.  It may be “uncool”, like I’ve heard people say about “CBS Sunday Morning”, but I love the stories and have garnered useful information. 

I’ve lived on my own for over 17 years, but my mom still gives me her “used” Reader’s Digests.  I have a stack of them on the bottom shelf of my bedside table.  I throw that and a copy of Guideposts in my gym bag and read them while I ride the stationary bike.  As a side-note, I also keep a couple copies of the Guideposts in my car to read while stuck in traffic to keep me calm. 

One Reader’s Digest story I read stuck with me.  I found the same article on the National Public Radio Website.  It’s titled “Always Go To The Funeral” by Deirdre Sullivan.  Deirdre talks about how her father always made her siblings go to viewings and funerals when they were kids.  He told them people would remember they had made the effort to go pay their respects.  And it’s just the right thing to do. 

The week before this past Christmas, I learned that the brother of one of my childhood classmates had died.  He was 46.  My parents are still friends with his father and his father’s second wife.  I had not seen Eric, my classmate, since his mother died around 10 years ago, and I attended that viewing. 

My parents mentioned that the viewing and funeral were scheduled for Dec. 27.  I had the week off but was “busy” running errands and getting ready for a quick trip to Nashville, Tennessee with my niece.  I thought about going, but decided I wouldn’t since I hadn’t seen him in forever, and I sent a sympathy card with my parents to give to him. 

When the day came, all I could think about was that article.  The phrase, “Always Go To The Funeral” kept running through my head.  I wasn’t that busy, was I?  But I had already sent the card, and he would think it was weird that I showed up after he already had my card.  I drove off to run another errand, but eventually turned the car around, changed into more presentable clothes, and set out to the viewing. 

It didn’t take that long to get there.  And it was a nice, sunny day for a drive.  My parents were surprised to see me.  I’m sure Eric was as well.  I didn’t stay long but we talked for a bit and I also saw his wife and one of his daughters, his father and stepmother. 

Was my being there a huge deal for Eric and his family?  Probably not.  I wasn’t trying to make a big statement.  I just wanted to be there, even for a short time, and let him know that I still value his friendship and I care about him.  Simple gestures are still important gestures.  I’m glad I went.  I hope you choose to go when the time comes.

Friday, April 14, 2017

#433 Change

The past few years I have frequented Aldi grocery stores.  They have good quality food and even better prices.  One of the reasons they have such low prices is their cart-rental system.  Their carts lock together and you “rent” one for your shopping time by putting in a quarter.  When you return the cart to the corral, you get your quarter back.  Simple.  And their parking lot is not littered with random carts. 

Occasionally when I am returning a cart, I’ll see another patron approach.  I’ll offer my cart and they offer a quarter.  Or the other way around.  It's a nice gesture.  

One Saturday morning as I returned my cart an older gentleman approached me to do the cart swap.  I waited for a moment as he fished around in his pants pocket for a quarter.  The sound of change rattling in his pocket brought back memories of my grandfathers, who always seemed to have change in their pockets.  I smiled as I took the quarter and then walked back to my car with tears in my eyes.  I suddenly missed my grandfathers. 

My mom’s father Ed died when I was ten.  I lost my other grandfather, Russell, when I was 20.  I have lovely memories of them both.  One, an artist/gas station owner and the other, a barber/farmer/school bus driver. 

Edmund Riedweg
Russell Godby
 Funny how the sound of change made me very aware of how life changes.  Hardly anyone keeps coins in their pockets anymore.  Or a comb in their front pocket.  Or carries a handkerchief.  The way of life that my grandfathers knew has passed.  Thankfully my memories of them are very much alive.