By COLLEEN LEDDY
David said something funny last week and I quickly jotted it down on the handiest piece of paper—the Detroit Free Press—with the handiest writing implement...a washable purple marker that somehow had surfaced from when almost-two-year-old Caroline was visiting a couple months ago.
When he reminded me on Saturday night that it was my week to write a column, I remembered having taken those notes. But when I looked for the paper on Sunday, it was no longer on the table.
With a moan and a groan, I set to going through the recycling basket. The best thing about our current curbside recycling pick-up is that everything goes in one bag. But the worst thing about curbside recycling is that everything goes in one bag.
I was going to have to pick through the glass jars and the plastic containers to make my way to the section of the Free Press on which I’d written the note. Fortunately, David is pretty fastidious about washing out jars and tin cans—I wasn’t going to encounter anything really gross.
Unfortunately, I was having no luck finding the note. I was certain I’d scrawled it on the left-hand side of a right-hand page toward the back of the main section of the newspaper. So I concentrated my efforts first on the main sections of the past week and when nothing panned out, moved on to the week before.
I’d been gone a week and had had a lot of catch-up reading to do, so it could have been any paper over two weeks rather than just the Thursday I had written the note. Still no luck, so I moved on to all the other sections of the paper even though I never crack open the “Buy + Sell” classified section or Thursday’s “Motor City” section, rarely ever the Sports section, and only occasionally the Business section. I buy the paper for “Life” and the main section.
I couldn’t fathom why the note wasn’t just jumping out at me. I mentally started accusing David of peeling potatoes on it and tossing it in the garbage, but we hadn’t eaten potatoes in weeks.
Onward I went, forcing myself not to be distracted by all the stories I’d previously ignored in the other sections—until I came to one on page five in the Thursday Business section, “Fiscal Discipline: Military families need to save to combat ongoing financial stress,” by Susan Tompor, that sounded too interesting to pass up.
I started reading it and then decided I better set it aside and go through the rest of the pile. When I had no luck finding the note after going through every dang section of every dang paper in the basket, I figured I must be nuts so I might as well finish the “Fiscal Discipline” story.
Some money troubles are self-inflicted, says Tompor, “as service personnel turn to spending to cope with the stress of preparing for dangerous situations,” but others come from scam artists who do things like “sell stolen vehicles—or cars they don’t even have—at bargain prices claiming to be soldiers who are being deployed.”
Well, that was an interesting article, I thought as I folded the paper, but I still hadn’t found my note. Then, the one-page “dinky” of the six-page Business section fell out and as I tried to grab it and not drop the rest of the paper, purple ink caught my eye.
There it was! On the left-hand side of page two of the Business section. I couldn’t have been more wrong about where I remembered writing the note. I briefly considered again that I might be going nuts, but I did remember reading the story next to the purple note.
Back on Thursday night, David was peeling carrots—preparing his sack lunch for the next day—and I was reading the Business section. It was a story about Klaus Busse, Chrysler vice president of interior design.
I remember being intrigued that this German designer went to the Texas State Fair “to study how pickup owners drove and worshipped their rigs” and laughing that he arrived wearing a pink Polo shirt and white tennis shoes. As writer Brent Snavely said, “not exactly the kind of look that draws a ‘Howdy, cowboy’ reaction.”
Suddenly, while reading the story, I realized David was talking to me and I had absolutely no idea what he had just said.
“Holy cow!” I said in apology. “You just said words that did not penetrate my brain!”
“I was talking to my carrot,” he said, nonchalantly.
Hmm, maybe he’s the one going nuts?