Visiting with a neighbor up the hill this morning he described his mother sequestered in her room in a retirement community. He said she was experiencing beginning Alzheimer’s and knew she repeated herself. To spare herself embarrassment she avoided social contact.
We wish each other a “Good Morning” at every meal until we get the time straight. We ask the same question multiple times knowing that we probably asked before. But so goes social conversation. We repeat stories around our kitchen table.
“I know I’ve said this before, Maxine. There was a bank robber in the 30’s. What was his name?”
“Derringer? No Dillinger. Derringer was the gun.”
“Whatever. When they caught him they asked him why he robbed so many banks. His answer was, ‘that’s where the money is.’”
My neighbor loves to work on his vintage truck. He without doubt has more truck stories than I do. But even a truck-lover’s stories are not limitless.
Everyone has one or two dog stories that get repeated with a change in social settings. Like, “you might not want to get too close to Fido today. He tangled with a skunk last week.”
“We have skunks in our neighborhood?”
“I didn’t think so and now we have one less.”
And then we say, “I know I’ve told this story before but it is so funny. There was a bank robber and when they asked him why he robbed so many banks, he said, ‘that’s where the money is.’”
At least once a week Mae West is quoted. “Come up and see me some time. Wednesday is amateur night.”
Every April my husband’s grandfather, a retired dairy farmer, would tell of putting away his sleigh and harnesses and changing to the wagon to deliver milk. On April 10 perhaps in 1915, a foot of snow was dumped on the roads from his farm and town. He was forced to get out the sleigh and reinstall the harnesses. Every April the story of the late snowfall was repeated. I’m telling it to you early this year because we had snow fall Monday night.
When we eat Reuben sandwiches for supper we review the five and dime stores with excellent lunch counters: Kress and Newberry’s and Woolworth. The nickel root beers. The Seahorse restaurant on the Mukilteo waterfront.
“Did I tell the story about the bank robber? What was his name?”
So many stories tucked away, waiting to be told again. Perhaps minutes later.