First my apologizes to those of you who read this story in an email several months ago. I hadn't started this blog yet and I sorta wanted it "on the record" here. And there may be some who haven't read it. And while Mary had no idea I had sent out that email, I did get her permission to reprint this. So here goes with only a few minor embellishments. (I didn't get her permission for those)
Here is the proclamation I made recently: I NEVER AGAIN WANT TO BE MADE FUN OF FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO "FIND THINGS". All our married life Mary has made fun of me (or been downright disgusted with me) for not being able to "find things". She claims that if my body parts weren't so handily fastened together I'd never be able to find them all at the same time. And she says the closer something is to being right in front of my nose, the less apt I am to be able to find it. Which is all very strange to me as I've always had better than 20-20 eyesight. (It came to me later, maybe my nose is blocking out that part of my vision)
Now out in nature I can find things remarkably well. I can drive past an overgrown field and not even be thinking about deer, and I will spot two ears sticking out above the brush at a couple hundred yards. I can be walking across a lawn and find four leaf clovers when I wasn't even looking for them. It's happened to me many times. Back when I was still on the farm I could be disking and spy an arrowhead laying on the ground when I wasn't even thinking about arrowheads.
But finding things in a structured place, like a house, not so much. I've never totally learned the layout of the "stuff" in our kitchen cabinets. In fact, I've always imagined that there is a conspiracy going on behind those closed doors. I open one door to "find something". It's not there. So I close that one and open the next. In that split second of time I think the pots and pans quickly trade places, so that when I open that next door, what I'm looking for isn't there either. Frustrating, to say the least. Here recently we were getting new cabinet doors and there was about a week where we had no doors at all. It was great! For once I could find things!
But let me tell you the story about me and my pants. One day a number of years back we were getting ready to go somewhere and I was characteristically in my usual laid-back Southern style, running right on the bottom minute of being "on time", which happens to be very important to people that are from further north than here. Even just as far north as Harrisonburg makes a tremendous difference on this issue, and it is something that has been a point of contention in our marriage from pretty much day one.
Anyway, Mary says she will go drop something off at someone's house (while I'm getting ready) so we don't have to do it on the way. That way when she gets back I'll hopefully be ready to go and we might still be close to being "on time". (I'm also suspicious that it's less stressful to be out of the house than to have to just sit there and watch me piddling along.
So I'm in the shower, she hollers at me that she's leaving, she'll be back soon, and she's laying out the pants that I'm supposed to wear. ( I also lack the ability to color coordinate clothes, but that's a topic for another day)
Well, the minutes are ticking by and I'm furiously getting ready, and now I'm at the place in the routine that you generally need your pants. I look on the bed. Not there. I make a trip around the house using my best "splatter gaze". ( That's the gaze you use use to find a set of deer ears in a ten acre field) Nothing. I'm beginning to get a little desperate. If I'm not ready when she gets home my precarious situation just got precariouserer.
I speed up my pilgrimages around the house, even checking in the kitchen. Nooooo luck. And here comes Mary pulling in the lane and I'm still pantless.
Where were they?? Of all places, hanging on a dining room chair. I had been past them 4 or 5 times. If they had been a snake they could have bitten me in the backside. What can I say?????????
BUT, LET ME COME BACK TO MY MAIN STORY!! (and what a story it is)
There was a sizable check at Long Island Lumber that needed to get to the bank by 2:00 o'clock. I mean sizable enough that if I could have cashed it personally, we could have lived comfortably on it for a couple years. I call Mary. She's going to the dentist. Could she take the check along? Yes, she says. Will you forget to pick it up? No, she says, she will pick it up when she drops off my lunch.
I am just finishing my lunch when my phone rings. It's Mary. She is sobbing. She is distraught. She has done something terrible, she says. My mind is racing; I can't imagine what. I wonder if there are visiting hours in whatever jail she'll be landing in.
It was raining when she left the office so she put the check in a Food Lion bag to keep it from getting wet. She stopped by the dumpster to drop off the trash. There is a vacant pickup parked there that spooks her out so she throws the trash out quickly and glances around the van for anything else that might be trash.(She's a compulsive thrower-awayer)
You guessed it; she threw the Food Lion bag (check enclosed) in the dumpster too! Although she doesn't realize it until she gets to the bank and can't find the check. That's when she calls me.
So we both head for the dumpster. Me from the Long Island end and her from Rustburg. I get to the dumpster first. The coast is clear. Good. Not too much trash has been added since she had been there maybe 20 minutes earlier. No, no one has stopped by to run the ram that squashes the garbage from the hopper into the container.
I work my way down the hopper. I will start at the bottom first. (Mary is a firm believer in throwing her trash as far down as possible. Less likely that someone will get ahold of one of your papers and steal your identity, she says) I gingerly move two big bags to clear a path to the bottom.
I am entirely focused. I mean, the Luftwaffe could be bombing the nearby metropolis of Gladys and I probably wouldn't even notice. I spot a little pile of cards that remind me of ones I remember seeing in our van. And there is a Food Lion bag laying there beside them. And the check is inside!
I crawl triumphantly out of the dumpster, check in hand, and am almost to the top as the next vehicle pulls down the driveway. Perfect timing. I call Mary. I meet her at Kedron church in Gladys. She is still weeping. I think this time it's from joy and relief. (Sometimes with women it's hard to tell) I am a hero.
She heads back for the bank and the dentist. At the dentist she tells them the whole story and she is still so worked up about it that they send her home without fixing her tooth. And I'm thinking how dreadfully dull my life could have been if I wouldn't have married that woman. And I'm thinking, "in sickness", "in health", and "in the dumpster".
But I also know my hero status won't last forever. Probably for the next 20 times straight she'll be the one finding something for me. I'm thinking what if she happens to not be around at my time of need. And so I'm wondering also how many four leaf clovers it would take to make a nice pair of fig leaf type britches if the need so arises. Or better yet (and quicker) would be thinking deer ears in a ten acre field and a buckskin suit.