Sows Ear: What? I can’t remember!
April 14, 2006
by Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.
“I signed up for long-term nursing-care insurance,” said Iris.
“You mean, like nursing homes for the beyond-assisted-living folks? That kind of insurance?”
I sat on a stool at Iris’ kitchen counter drinking coffee and eating fresh-made orange-banana muffins, a new recipe Iris had invented. As a regular guinea pig for her gourmet concoctions, I had to rate the muffin superlative.
“Uh-huh,” said Iris. “I’m planning ahead.”‘
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“Way ahead,” I said. “Like about 30 years. What brought on this sudden fit? You aren’t sick, are you?”‘
“No, but I can’t remember stuff like I used to.”
Iris sipped her coffee. I sipped mine. I was concerned. It wasn’t like her to be obsessing about anything except the ranch, the cows, her kids or the weather.
“Can’t remember stuff? Who can? What’s the big deal about that? You still know how to make yummy muffins,” I said and reached for seconds.
“Well,” said Iris gloomily, “I nearly flunked the memory quiz the insurance guy laid on me.”
“The insurance representative called and fired 10 words at me, then a few minutes later, he asked me to repeat any of the words I could recall.”
“Ten words? What words?”
“I don’t remember. They were short ones, though.”
“I think I would’ve cheated and written ’em down,” I said.
“I couldn’t,” said Iris,”I was making custard. You know how you have to dip the spoon and let the custard coat it to test for proper consistency?”
“If you say so,” I said. “You mean you were talking to the guy and making custard at the same time?”
“Well, yes. I can listen and stir at the same time,” said Iris. “But when he asked me to repeat as many of the 10 words as I could recall, I could only come up with three of ’em.”
“They say eating fish improves your memory,” I sympathized.
“Salmon,” said Iris. “Eating salmon is supposed to help you remember. I made a salmon dinner just the other night for my son and his wife, but I cooked the peas in the microwave and forgot to serve ’em. Now if I forget the least little thing, my son wants to know if the salmon has kicked in yet.”
“Well, I still don’t see there’s a problem. Why worry? What did the insurance man say? Did he sell you the policy?”
“Oh, sure,” said Iris. “He told me right then over the phone that I’d probably made the cut.”
“I’ll bet,” I said dryly. “So are you covered now? If you’re found wandering in the road like a lost calf, will the Home take you in?”
“They’d better,” said Iris just as the phone rang.
I listened as she rattled off her Post Office box number and her rural address. As she put down the phone, Iris broke into a side-shaking fit of laughter.
“That was the insurance man,” she gasped between chortles. “He forgot to ask me for my mailing address.
Should I invite him over for salmon?”