Elizabeth Willis Barrett
Just when I thought there was no more to write about, I did something stupendous–stupendously stupid. I feel the capillaries in my face enlarge and a pink glow begins in my neck and travels up to my hairline when I think about it. I’m hoping the writing of the incident will help me let it go and march forward into sanity, although that may be impossible.
Since my Dad had Alzheimer’s for seven years before it finally took him, and my mother had dementia that made her life and those who loved her miserable for a couple of rough years, keeping my mind throughout a long life doesn’t seem too probable. However, each of my parents had siblings who lived well into their 90’s with tarp as a shack–whoops! I mean sharp as a tack–minds. I have been counting on following those with the healthy minds since some of their DNA belongs to me. But what I did was so crazy that the insanity road seems more likely.
We attended a beautiful wedding ceremony in the Mesa, Arizona, LDS Temple on Saturday. While there we saw many friends who belong to one huge wonderful family who were attending a different wedding. Because of the sacredness of the Temple, we are asked to take off our shoes and put on little white socks to go into the sealing rooms. It was a crowded day and the cubbyholes that hold the set-aside shoes were quite full, but I found a place for my long black boots and a cubbyhole for my black coat. I even put my name by each which I usually don’t take time to do. I put on the provided socks and felt a great spirit of love and peace as I witnessed the Temple Wedding. Had I known what I was about to do, I would have stayed in the sealing room for a long time.
After the ceremony, I needed to go to the bathroom before the ride home, so quickly went to where my boots and coat should have been. I couldn’t see them. Hmmmm. I did see a black short coat in one of the cubbies and thought someone had selfishly moved my coat to make room for her things. I grabbed it and put it on and in a bottom cubby were some black boots.
“Wow, people were being insensitive,” I thought, “moving my things around like that.” On went the boots and into the bathroom went I.
While in the bathroom I felt a phone in a pocket of the coat and realized it was in an inside pocket. I didn’t even know my coat had an inside pocket. I pulled out the phone and saw that it wasn’t mine. I had someone else’s coat! I was mortified.
Just as I told a friend that I had taken the wrong coat, the coat’s owner–another young and beautiful friend–came toward me with my coat. Thankfully, she was very understanding as I told her that I thought I was the only one who had worn a coat in 60 degree weather! She showed me my name that I had placed with my coat. That made me ponder. If my name was with my coat, was my name also with my boots? There in a bottom cubby were a pair of long black boots and alongside them was my name. I was wearing someone else’s boots, too!
By this time I was surrounded by a group of laughing friends so I couldn’t nonchalantly take off the boots and replace them with my own. They all knew that I had taken not only someone else’s coat, but someone else’s boots as well.
“Your boots are round toed and the others are square toed,” someone gently pointed out. I have never been a stickler for detail, obviously.
The laughter continued–in a Temple-like way–but my own laughter was a bit hysterical. Dementia? Had it started already?
I can hardly breathe as I relate this story because that mishap took a walloping chunk of promise out of my future. What other imbecilic things am I going to do before the last fragments of my life are over?
In one of my next essays, I am going to instruct my children on how to take care of their aging, demented mother. They’d better read it!