I told my daughter, a stay at home mom to two of my four grandchildren, that she has to get out of the house more often. She told me that was the old mom calling the young mom stuck in a rut.

Since entering semi-retirement, I haven’t ventured far from the comforts of my country confines during these past winter months. I even managed to take all of my degree courses online this semester and the thirty-five mile trips to have lunch with a friend and do a little shopping have dwindled down to none.

Even the lure of spending less on groceries and other necessities doesn’t tempt me the way it does in summer months. But the recent warming temperatures that promise spring and hint at summer bring cabin fever. So when daughter called to say she had a childless afternoon on her hands,it was all the prodding I needed to agree to a chicks’ day out.

You know the chicks have been cooped up too long when they get lost in not one, but three shopping area parking lots.

My hubby tells me that the alarm on the key fob works like a charm for locating misplaced vehicles. Of course, that’s after he asks me why I don’t make a mental note of where I park when I get out of the car. His mistake is in assuming that I don’t. Like cheap sticky notes with inferior glue, my cerebral reminders just don’t stay put.

Besides, pressing that little button is way too close to having one of those “Help me I’ve fallen down and can’t get up,” alarms dangling around my neck.

I mentioned the car alarm trick to my daughter and she asked why I wasn’t pressing the button. What? And draw attention to my forgetfulness obviously brought on by advancing age?

She agreed that the two of us wandering around a parking lot shouting to each other from two lanes away didn’t draw attention. She gets her sarcasm from me.

“I guess you had your eyes closed when we parked.” I said.

She responded that she never pays attention to where she parks. Why would she? The vehicle her hubby and she chose to accommodate two active kids and all their trappings is so large she can spot it from a block away. I practically need a step ladder to climb into the monster and elevation nosebleeds can’t be ruled out.

She can be smug now, but she only has a year left of her twenties. It won’t be long before her eyesight goes the way of her size skinny jeans and she won’t be able to rely on the crutch of clear vision any more.

Things change as we get older. We become more thoughtful, we develop a desire to make a difference, we hone in on the important things in life. I like to think that my preference to keep my business local is based in those maturing values.

Things have become less important to me than people. Community is like a family. I like chatting with my neighbor who works the checkout at the grocery store. I like seeing the familiar faces of the couple that owns the hardware. I like being greeted with a smile and called by name.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I could wind my way around any expressway cloverleaf, make a fast lane change to an exit or entrance ramp, and find an access road to arrive at the Mecca of a suburban shopping mall. Now, it just doesn’t seem worth the effort.

Okay, so maybe the truth is that I don’t like driving in “the big city”. But by navigating my way through the maze of traffic lanes and poorly planned parking lots of an urban shopping center, even one as tame as that in our nearest city, what can I find there that I can’t find closer to my rural home?

Obviously not my car.

. . . . . mid

GET A ^ LIFE at MAD Goddess


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