BECOMING BETTER

Jean Croker Petke


Foibles and Frivolities

Foibles and Frivolities

I have moments when things go wonky. Perhaps you’ve had such times as well.

Late last Sunday afternoon, as I was getting ready to go out for the evening, I took one last look in the mirror to make sure my hair was in place. There it was: a black hoop earring in my right ear and a dangly glittery one in the left. They’d been that way since early morning. I thought of all the people I’d chatted with at church that morning, face on, and no one had mentioned my error. Perhaps they didn’t notice. Perhaps they didn’t want to embarrass me. Perhaps, because of my grey hair and wrinkled skin, people think I’m losing it, at least a bit. I laughed at myself and vowed to check my earrings more carefully in the future.

Another Sunday, years ago, I was sitting in church and looked down at my feet. I had a navy blue shoe on one foot and a black shoe on the other. They looked nothing alike. Their heels were the same height so I hadn’t noticed as I walked around my house, out to my car, and across the parking lot into church. I know how it happened. My shoes were lined up in my closet, sort of under the rack of clothes. I accidentally aimed each foot at a different pair of shoes. That’s exactly how you get mismatched shoes on your feet.

But wait. It gets worse.

As the afternoon speaker at a spiritual growth retreat, I was expected to wear my Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes for my presentation. I wore my favorite black-and-white checked dress, yellow scarf, and black earrings. As I slipped on my black shoes, I realized I only had left shoes. They matched because I owned two pairs of identical shoes. Time had run out. I could either wear no shoes or hobble in two lefties. I chose the latter. I walked very carefully into the conference room where fifty people were waiting to hear me speak. At the podium, I was tempted to joke with them about my shoes. I chose to keep my secret, fearing that if I told it would be the only thing they’d remember from my talk. When I returned home from that weekend, my grown children had posted a sign in my closet:

left foot          right foot

left shoe         right shoe

We still tell this story and laugh about it.

Then there were the knitting needles in the freezer.

And finally, on my last visit with son and daughter-in-law (DIL) I had medication that required refrigeration. So I would remember to take it home I put my car keys on top of the medication in the fridge. I told my son, just so he would know. Sometime later DIL came into the living room with an awkward look on her face, like she needed to say something but wasn’t sure how to do it. She hesitated, then looked at me, and tentatively said, “Jean, do you know your keys are in the fridge?” She had already decided she was witnessing the early stages of dementia. I explained, son acknowledge my truth, and we all laughed. DIL was relieved.

I hope you’ve laughed at yourself in the company of family and friends. It’s good for one’s soul.

Until next Tuesday . . .

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