Maybe it’s that
we’re retired (hmmm, I almost typed ‘tired’ by mistake) but the holidays this
year are unraveling and passing in slow motion.
No last minute shopping or rushing around. No playing an adult game of dodge ‘em to find
a parking spot at the mall.
I even had the
time to read The Witches: Salem,
1692. That’s a 400-page tome that
chronicles in great detail the events
surrounding the witchhunt hysteria that gripped small Massachusetts communities
in and around Salem at the end of the late seventeenth century leading to the
executions of 20 citizens.
During this insanity,
husbands accused wives, children accused parents and even grandparents and
grandchildren were not averse to making accusations that the other was dealing
with the devil. All that does seem
insane to us today in the 21st century. But I did find it kinda weird when the last time our
three-year-old grandson Luke was over I teased him, “You’re a witch, Luke.”
He whirled around
and said, “No, you’re the witch!” He
looked serious too. How does he even
know what a witch is? “No, Luke, you’re
the witch,” I deadpanned matter-of-factly.
“No, YOU’RE the witch, grandpa” he said, his eyes intense in his
accusation. This was getting familiar,
sounding too much like the events I had been reading about so I dropped it
Besides, if he
were a witch, he might drop a hex on me. In fact, I did feel hexed, or
worse—afflicted with senile dementia—within the past week. A simple task turned into a memory-ravaging
ordeal. We had to make a trip to the
store so I went to snatch the keys from a hook in the kitchen where I usually
there. That’s not that unusual as I
sometimes forget to put them back.
Probably left them in a coat pocket.
So I checked my coats, all of them.
Shirt and pants pockets too. Not
there either. I continued on, looking on tabletops, shelves, desktops—any elevated flat surface where I might have
absent-mindedly put them. I even looked
under my La-Z-Boy reclining chair as change and whatnot sometimes come loose
from my pockets and end up there. But
Now I was
starting to wonder. I had checked not
only the places where the keys should have been but also the logical places
where they could have been. That scary
condition popped into my mind . . . Alzheimer’s. If those keys were in the refrigerator
freezer or the mailbox, finding them might reveal too much about my present
state of mind.
(I should note
that I have been suffering from a debilitating cold and discovered that my
ability to do simple mental puzzles, Sudoku for example, seems to have
suffered. Then again, maybe it had
nothing to do with my cold).
So now my wife
and I began to check for the keys in places that would seem illogical. I looked in my desk in the basement, in the
car itself though it was locked, on the workbench in the garage, underneath
furniture, the mailbox (I felt I had to), Wendy’s purse when she wasn’t looking
(you never know--she's a little up there in years too), even in the Christmas manger scene set up in our living
Wendy told me to
check my La-Z-Boy chair again. I had
already looked under it as well as probing with my hands into the crevices near
the seat where change, keys, even a TV remote sometimes become lodged. So I overturned the chair completely. And there, trapped and held fast in the
recliner’s metal frame, were my keys.
relief. I had been recalling a time
when a relative, while cutting my grandparents’ grass, came across a set of
keys belonging to them. Turns out my
grandpa had thrown the keys out into the yard to see if his metal detector
could find them. Then he forgot about
the task at hand as his mind moved on to his next adventure. Now I’m wondering how old he was when all