I stood up and walked out of the hygienist’s work area, and she said, “Don’t forget your hat.”
It was hanging on the wall.
Diana and I laughed. We’d been speaking about forgetfulness while she was cleaning my teeth for the millionth time.
After we learned we had my old friend Charlie Lamb in common, Diana and I struck up conversations, in bursts, as she worked.
At our last encounter, recently, we got onto the subject of forgetfulness. She told me she often leaves home and returns abruptly for something she remembered needing.
In my version of that story, I forget my keys and then lock myself out of the house. I can’t move my car or get my keys.
I solved that one day by giving my neighbor a key. She already had my garage key because she keeps some things in there.
That worked out better than I imagined. When Pat and I are traveling, our neighbor can go in the house and turn on the heat, or cooling before we arrive back home.
Last week things got crazy. I didn’t forget the keys. I grabbed them off their hook as I scooted out the door and set the lock.
But, when I tried to open the car door, the key would not go into place. I’d grabbed the keys to my son’s pickup, which he left for a week.
Somehow his keys had made it to my hook.
My neighbor wasn’t there. Her teenaged brother-in-law brought me three of the wrong keys.
Finally, I called the neighbor at work, she talked to the teenager, and he found the right key. As I’ve said before, the very best part of living in the Yakima Valley is the people. They are warm and helpful, and will even lie to make you feel better.
If I say, I’m always forgetting, they say, “Don’t think about, I do it all the time, too.”
I can believe that when someone in their 50s or upwards says it. But when a kid says it, I don’t know.
But then I started remembering incidents from the past. I’m sure most farm boys had similar experiences.
Dad would send me to the garage to fetch him a tool. Something would attract my attention, and I’d forget before arriving at the garage.
I’d crack the door to the house open and meekly ask what he wanted. That look in his eyes was enough to keep me from forgetting a second time.
One time, it was dad who forgot. He and an uncle dropped a cousin and me at Glenn Walker’s place, just off Dekker Road on Hudson Road, where they had a sizable vegetable garden going.
We were to weed out the entire garden while they went to the sale in Sunnyside to see if there were any animals they wanted.
“We’ll be back with some hamburgers at noon,” Dad said.
“Deal,” my cousin and I said, and we went to work. It was a hot July Saturday, and my cousin and I downed a full gallon of water by 10 o’clock.
Judging from the position of the sun it became noon, and we were tired, thirsty and hungry. Dad and uncle didn’t show. We gave in at about 2 o’clock.
We found water in a camping trailer that was hooked to a well. We also found cooking utensils and supplies and plates, and a gas stove that worked.
All we needed was food. We found asparagus growing around the edges of the garden. Then we found these huge eggs. We knew they weren’t chicken, but we didn’t know what they were.
We mimicked our mothers and learned how to cook, boiling the asparagus until it was soft and frying the eggs.
Dad and uncle showed up late in the afternoon. If we had been their parents, we’d have given them the evil eye.
They didn’t even apologize, and they forgot the hamburgers.
— Ted Escobar is the managing editor of the Daily Sun News. He is a life-long resident of the Yakima Valley, growing up between Outlook and Granger.