Actual conversation between me and my sister-in-law Larva:
Me: “I saw that TV star — you know the guy? He practically lives here? —shopping? on Royal Street.”
Larva: “Which guy?”
Me: “You know! With that New Orleans show.”
Larva: “Oh, whatshisname?”
Me: “Right, him. He used to be in that other show.” I jump up and down. “With the leaping.”
Larva: “I loved that show.”
Lately, I am having a lot of conversations like that. Maybe I should be worried. I feel like I got a sloth in my head, who verrrry slowly shuffles through all the facts piled up in there, and at some point —maybe days later— he finds the right word, and I shout it out in the middle of dinner.
I always told my kids that as you get older, your head get so full of facts, some just leak out through your ears. Like your own kids’ names, which is why you yell one name after the other, including the dog’s and the gerbil’s, before you get to the one you want.
They never believed me, but now I have proof. I read it in a magazine or somewhere. Maybe online.
It says, “Being forgetful is a sign of high intelligence, according to scientists.” So, ha!
It explains that your brain, which got to fit inside your head, only has room for the main stuff, like breathing and eating and walking to the refrigerator, and not for details like what you are supposed to get your mother-in-law for Mother’s Day.
Which is a problem.
Every year Ms. Larda’s kids and me (standing in for my departed husband Lout, poor heart, may he rest in peace and quiet) chip in to surprise her with something she really wants. Maybe she don’t know she wants it yet, like when we got her the Chihuahua, but usually it’s something she mentioned. Actually, ever since the Chihuahua, she has mentioned it pretty loud. Back in March, she mentioned something and I made a mental note, and collected $20 from everybody. Then I forgot what it was.
So did the rest of the family.
But my brother-in-law Lurch, who lives in the same house with her, noticed a Post-It note on her fridge. He says it looks like “St. Francis Assisi feeder” and it must mean she wants a St. Francis of Assisi bird feeder. Which is on sale at Garden of Ralph Nursery. Which is owned by his poker buddy, Ralph.
St. Francis don’t ring a bell for me. But I can’t think of anything else.
So I borrow my gentleman friend Lust’s pickup truck and go to Garden of Ralph and get a discount on St. Francis holding a dish for birdseed. Ralph even loads him in the truck, ties him down, throws a bag over him, and reminds me about his no-return policy on discounted saints.
I drive straight to Ms. Larda’s, because Lurch promised to unload St. Francis and stash him in their shed until Mother’s Day. He told his mama I was bringing some sawhorses he is borrowing from Lust. While he is unloading the statue, I go inside to distract her. Also to check out that note on the fridge.
Which ain’t so easy. She got a couple hundred school pictures of grandkids, a slew of recipes from out the newspaper, a holy card of St. Expedite…
And there, just above the freezer handle, a Post-It not with something scribbled on it— “fan” and “food” and a word with a lot of sss’s. I stare at it awhile.
And it comes to me. FANCY FOOD PROCESSOR. Nothing to do with St. Francis.
But maybe we got to give him credit. Lurch wins enough at that week’s poker game to buy the food processor. Ms. Larda will get two presents.
Me and Larva take the money and drive to pick out this food processor at Target. We are at a stop light, and out of the blue, she blurts out, “Scott Bakula. Quantum Leap.”
“NCIS: New Orleans,” I say.
We both feel better.