It is the little things that bring a smile to our faces.
Today, I phoned my mother to collect her weekly shopping order. This is always a humorous affair. Who knew there were so many varieties of tissues?
My mother has a friend who is now bedbound and has Dementia. She often orders items for him that she likes to take round when she visits. Hence, I am asked to source ‘Vimto’ and special rice puddings and on occasion, things like ‘a big slipper’. (This when he could sit in a chair).
The other things she regularly orders are bananas.
“Do they look big?” she asks.
I peer at the web page which shows a generic banana.
“They don’t say how big they are,” I reply.
“Oh, well, never mind, the last lot were so big I couldn’t eat a whole one at a time.”
“Do you think the strawberries will be sweet?”
I am very patient as we go through the list and I use my psychic powers to determine what she is describing when she asks for;
“That thing, now what’s it called, oh you know…oh dear, it’s gone right out of my head…”
At this point, I recognise so many traits that are threatening to emerge in myself, it is quite scary!
Today, the shopping order completed, my mother changes the subject to the letter opener.
The letter opener has been the subject of several conversations this week, ever since it disappeared from the little side table by the sofa, on which it is always kept.
“It was there when the painter left, I’m sure of it!” she told me the other day. “Do you suppose he might have rolled it up with his rags, by accident? He wouldn’t have thrown it away would he?” I assured her that this scenario was unlikely.
“It’ll turn up, just when you least expect it,” I advised. I then treated her to my own much tried and proven method of locating lost items. I stand in the room and say aloud,
“Well, I wont see that again!”
Nine times out of ten, maybe 9.9 times even, I will turn around and go straight to the place where the lost object is lying. It has happened so often that even my sons and daughters have adopted this method now.
I read somewhere once that if you say this aloud, the mischievous spirits who have hidden the object, will let you find it. Fanciful but it works!
“Yes, I will try that,” she said.
The painter has gone and the carpet fitter is due tomorrow. My mother has emptied the sideboard to make moving it easier for the carpet-man.
“I took everything out except for the bottle of sherry that’s been there for ages and the Cinzano – there was only a bit of that left – I like a drop of one or the other now and then,” she admits, “but then I thought, when he moves the sideboard, the bottles will rattle and he will think I am a drunkard!”
I laugh at this logic.
“So, I carried them upstairs and hid them in the spare room under a table,” she confides.
I point out that this would make her out to be more of a drunkard than having them in the sideboard but after a giggle about the consequences of the carpet fitter using the bathroom which entails passing the open door of the spare room, she returns to the letter opener.
“I just can’t think what’s happened to it!” she sighs, “It’s not valuable, just very pretty, you know the one, it has a little turquoise bird on the handle,”
I know the one well. I am sure she will find it and that it has not been whisked away by the hapless painter.
This afternoon, the phone rings again.
“Oh, hello Mum…”
There is a pause and a giggle on the other end of the line.
“You’ll think I’m mad, I’ve found it!”
She is inordinately pleased and so am I. We need not have another conversation about a letter opener.
“So, where did you find it?” I ask.
“You’ll never believe it, I went up to find my glasses and as I passed the spare room door I saw the sherry bottle. I thought it looked a bit skew-whiff, so I knelt down to push it further under the table, in case the carpet man does come upstairs, well, you wont believe it but there was the letter opener! The sherry bottle must have been standing on it all the time.”
We laugh of course.
There is a pause,
“I could do with a sherry after all that,”
“Yes mum, so could I!”
So, another mystery solved which just leaves one for the day: what is it that my mother ordered last week, that she has forgotten about? That is another question she has for me that I cannot answer. She has received a note today to say that her order will be delivered some time tomorrow but she does not remember what it was she ordered. Apparently, it might be a chest for the end of the bed…or not.
She has prepared the bedroom in case.
Hmm… maybe it is a drinks cabinet?