Sunday, October 25, 2015

Memories in the Making

Memories in the Making

The concept of children being self-centered has become generally accepted knowledge. Have you ever considered the possibility of our trust in that idea being misplaced?

Don’t let the lead-in mislead you. This isn’t an article about children. Or is it? I’m not really sure myself. As children, we soak in all the love we can get and we happily and readily depend upon our families for our every need. It’s when we mature into adults and leave the comfort of our childhood to become dependent upon ourselves that the real “me” culture begins. Think about it. Who is more selfish? The child who somewhat begrudgingly shares her toys or the adult who does whatever it takes to get ahead, gain a foothold over his coworkers and seize that promotion?

All right, I’ll now climb down from the soapbox.

My mom wanted to visit, so I drove to Kansas over the weekend and brought her to our home in Oklahoma for a week or so. Okay you guessed it. The older I get the more nostalgic and child-like I become. 

Mom’s antics, annoying at first, have become quite entertaining. She’s always losing things. Usually it’s her cellphone or her garage door opener. Even though she no longer drives an automobile, the assisted-living duplex where she lives has a small garage. She has taken to leaving the front door to the apartment locked and using the garage to enter and exit the dwelling. I know. Anyway, during her last visit, she had lost her cell phone. She had looked everywhere. I offered to help, but she was ready to go, so I promised we would search for it upon our return and we headed for Oklahoma.

On Monday, after the weekend, my wife, Kathi, and I left mom and our son, David, at home and went off to work. Around 10:00 AM, I heard a mild commotion and glanced outside my cubicle to see that several of my coworkers had gathered and they were pointing and looking out the window. I joined the group and saw what had drawn their attention. People were streaming from the building and gathering in the parking lot. We all exchanged curious glances and wondered what in the world was going on. When a firetruck, with sirens blaring, squealed to a stop near the building, it unanimously dawned on us that perhaps we should exit the building as well.

It turned out there had indeed been a fire in the building. An electrical malfunction had occurred in one of the outdated, ancient elevators – we only have two and neither of them is dependable. To complicate matters, the fire alarms had gone off on the 5th floor, which accounted for the people we had seen running for safety, but had failed to work on the remaining floors. 

Later in the evening when we returned home, mom informed us that she’d been hearing a strange, beeping sound. It had been bothering her all day. Sure enough, when we remained silent and listened, we, too, heard the sound. However, like the chirping of a cricket, it was difficult to determine exactly where it was coming from. With the scare from work still fresh in my mind, I immediately thought of the smoke detectors. We have two downstairs and one upstairs. I recruited the help of our son, David, who I sent upstairs, while Kathi and I positioned ourselves directly beneath the bottom two. When the beeping sounded again, we all called out, “It’s not this one.”

With the detectors eliminated as the source of the pesky tone, we turned our attention to the two thermostats, one upstairs and one down. They, too, emit a sort of chirp when the batteries become weak. No, it wasn’t the thermostats either.

“It seems to be coming from the kitchen,” mom insisted.

Kathi, David, and I all descend on the kitchen, where mom is standing, and while we have her surrounded, we once again hear, “beep.”

“Have you checked your pockets?” I ask.

“There’s nothing in my pockets,” she insisted. “I pulled these sweatpants from my suitcase this morning, and I haven’t put anything in the pockets.”

“Well, just to be safe,” I said, “please check your pockets.”

Mom rolls her eyes then shoves her hands into the pockets of her sweatpants. Her expression softens as she pulls out her lost cellphone, which had been beeping because it needed a charge.

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This article was written by Bob Avey, author of, Twisted Perception, Beneath a Buried House, and Footprints of a Dancer.

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