Swish – Glen’s long jumper fell through, hitting nothing but net.
“Hah, make that,” he taunted. “Miss and you get an e.”
Nearly two years younger than I, my cousin was a much better athlete. Be it baseball, football, or basketball, he ran circles around me. Today we were playing horse at Grandmother’s house.
Lining up my shot, I tried to ignore his happy taunts. Luckily, for me, the game was called. Grandmother stood in the door calling us for dinner. Now before I go on, you need to understand something – of my 14 cousins, only four were boys, and Grandmother raised three girls and one son. You’d think that the smaller number of boys would make it easy to remember their names, right? Well not quite.
Grandmother stood in the open door, waving to us.
“Jane, Jim, Vera, Doris, Nancy, Martha,” she yelled. Then after a flustered pause, she continued, “Whatever your name is. Come in for dinner.”
My shot went wide as Glen and I ran toward the door.
“Grandmother, my name is Glen.”
“And I’m David,” we giggled. Grandmother laughed good-naturedly as we passed.
In the ensuing years, she would call the roll with increasing frequently. Occasionally, running through the entire roll before getting to the correct name. This endearing quirk is definitely hereditary, and in a few years, my mother started to call the roll.
“Jim, Vera, Doris, Nancy, Martha, whatever your name is, come here.” Although there were only my two sisters and me, Mom would run through the names of her siblings, and then my sister’s, before getting to me. Sadly, this family quirk won’t miss my generation.
Although these senior moments can be funny, they are excruciatingly embarrassing. After more than three score birthdays, I’ve become quite familiar with these moments. Just this summer I caught myself confusing Caroline and Denali’s names. To date, I have yet to run through the girls before I get to Dane. When it happens, I will not be surprised.
Saturday, I had my first Book Signing. Aware of my tendency to confuse names, I followed some on-line advice to compensate for my poor memory. Handing customers a yellow sticky pad, I asked them to jot down the name they wanted me to use. A neat trick that worked well, I signed an even dozen books with no problem.
After my event, pleased but exhausted, I paid my niece a visit. Rummaging through a box in my car trunk, I located a copy of Olivia’s Story. Book in hand I entered the house with my gift.
Then it happened. There I was, sitting on the couch, book open to the title page, pen in hand, and I froze. For the life of me, I could not remember how to spell her name. It is a common name, one that I have written hundreds of times – L-a-u-r-a. How could I forget that? For that moment in time, I simply could not think, so I had to ask. Talk about embarrassing.
Dear Laura was gracious, and we had a good visit, but now I know how Grandmother felt.
If any of you have a funny senior moment, I would love to hear about it.
David L Dahl.
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