Witches, Luke And Keys
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 then.
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 put them.
They weren’t 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 again, nothing.
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 room. Nothing.
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.
What a 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 that happened.