I was recently asked what my “worst senior moment” was. I replied that I was embarrassingly rich in examples but if I had to choose one it would be the day a few years ago when three of my grandchildren were in the same school just down the road and I stopped in around noon. One thing this school does right is that no matter what the weather it gets all the kids outside running around in the middle of the day. So looking at my watch thinking I could maybe surprise them I parked in the big lot and meandered over the grassy acre between the buildings where the school’s hundred and fifty children were yelling and screaming, running in circles, chasing balls, playing tag and cartwheeling.
It was sunny but a bitterly cold late autumn day with a wind blowing windrows of fallen leaves through the air. All the kids were bundled up and so try as I might I couldn’t pick any one of the three out.
Then a woman marched over. Some member of the staff or a volunteer whom I’d never met. A serious, powerful looking oak slab of woman in I guess her forties who under a very determined visage had a big brass whistle hanging on a chain around her neck.
“Can I help you?” she asked in a voice which sounded like gravel rolling around inside a cement mixer.
“I’m just looking for one of my three grandchildren.”
“Oh, is that so? Then their names are?” she demanded.
And I froze and drew a blank. A blank! OH MY GOD! WHAT HAPPENED TO ME? DID I HAVE A STROKE? I CAN’T REMEMBER THE NAMES OF MY GRANDCHILDREN! And the longer I stood there with my mouth open the closer her hand crept to that whistle. I didn’t know what would happen when she blew it but I knew it wouldn’t be anything good.
Them BAM a pink blur hit me and I went down on my back in the leaves.
Sitting on my chest was one of my granddaughters. “Sorry grandpa” she was looking down into my face with real concern, “I thought you saw me coming.”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the disappointed whistle woman stomp off in search of the next suspicious intruder and I smiled back, “don’t worry about it honey you were just in the nick of time.”
Then I tapped her with one finger, “by the way what’s your name?”