A Secret Mission to Deliver a Potato

I spend as much time as possible laughing.  There are people of all temperaments in this world and somehow I was blessed enough to get to be one of the Young at Heart.  Sometimes I think it would be cool to be one of the Old Souls, but mostly I’m content with my lot.

When I kicked around the idea of writing a blog, I was advised to write the sort of blog I like to read.  I like humorous blogs, so that’s what I write and I’m pretty confident that I laugh over my own blog more than anyone who reads it.

Of course, I don’t laugh every minute of my life and the same evenings that I guffaw over the blog may come on the heels of a day where I cried or was cranky or humorless.  But each evening I sit down to compose and by bedtime I’m feeling Young at Heart again.

One rueful thing I’ve noticed over the years is that I have forgotten almost all of my life.  There are a few things that stand out, but the rest is a blur.  We’ve all heard that at moments of almost-death your entire life passes before your eyes.  I’ve long been curious about what forgotten things I will get to see again, flashing by.

I’ve been concerned over forgetting the moments of life for a long time now. One of my worries as a child was to end up in a concentration camp.  I remember waking up one morning with the pillow so soft and the blankets so warm, and thinking, “I’m completely, perfectly comfortable right at this exact moment. I couldn’t possibly feel more comfortable than I feel right now.” And I fixed the memory of those sensations in my mind, so that if I ever was in a concentration camp, I would be able to go back to that memory for comfort.  I remember it all: the brass day bed, the slant of the sun in the window, the neon green paint on my walls, the comforter and pillow, molded around my head, my hair against my cheek.

A benefit, and the very point, of this blog is that whenever I read this in the future, I’ll remember this year, and all the moments I’d have otherwise forgotten.

As I’ve said, I laugh a lot, but I can’t remember what I actually laugh about.  I sat here just now, counting the specific things I remember laughing about and I can remember less than 10 of them.  I started to recount them here for you, but frankly, they’re not funny unless you were there.  Nephew learned that today.  I’ll try to explain.

Last night, Darling Husband wanted to secretly leave a potato at a friend’s house.  Yes a potato.  No, I won’t explain why.  We needed to wait until it was dark to deliver the potato, past my boys’ bedtime.  Darling Husband stayed home with them and I packed Nephew into the car with me to deliver the potato.

This delighted Nephew more than words can describe.  After all those hours of playing Call of Duty, he was finally on a real secret mission involving cover of dark and requiring stealth and reconnaissance.  He named it Operation Plant Potato and fretted a bit in the car, “But what if we’re caught? I know, I’ll just say I’m a short mailman!”  And he said it with such sincerity, as if this was the perfect cover story, that it was just plain funny,  “A short mailman?” and we laughed and laughed.

The mission was tricky.  I had told Nephew, “If we make it across the lawn to the front porch, we’re in the clear.  There are no windows by the front door and we can take our time hanging the potato on the door knob.”  I had pre-tied the potato onto the string, and pre-tied a loop for the doorknob.

When we were out of the car, Nephew was holding the potato and did what anyone holding a potato on the end of a string would do—he swung it.  Just as I told Nephew, “Don’t swing the…!” the potato broke loose from it’s string, arced through the air, thumped to the ground, and rolled across the grass.  I fixed it as best I could, but it was irredeemably loosened.

We peered around the side of the neighbor’s house at our target house and saw to our great dismay that not only were there no curtains in the huge front window, but the front door was wide open and the storm door was a solid pane of glass from top to bottom.  How to get across the lawn without being seen, and once at the door, how to attach the potato with no chance of cover?

We observed the house for a while trying to locate the positions of its occupants.  It was easy enough to see with the open door and curtainless window that no one was in the living room or kitchen.  If we were fast, very very fast, we just might be able to pull off Operation Plant Potato.

So, we took off.  Halfway across the lawn, however, the garage flood lights blazed on.  Nephew’s Call of Duty training immediately kicked into gear and he abandoned me in the middle of the yard and bolted into the shadows by the side of the house.  Meanwhile, I’m faltering mid-stride thinking, “Dang it!  Why’d I wear my melon-orange jacket?!” and scampered to the front door with the potato flying behind me on its string.

I looped the potato on the doorknob, said, “Go!” to Nephew and we loped back across the lawn, through a big noisy pile of leftover fall leaves and flung ourselves in the unlocked car past a woman who was walking her dogs and staring us down.  I’m pretty sure she committed my license tag number to memory as we roared off into the night.

I didn’t want to creep out my friend too much with the mysterious potato, so I left a not-so-subtle clue in last night’s blog about The Gift and I’m glad I did, because after delivery the potato fell off its string and wouldn’t have been found if I hadn’t left the clue.

But today, Nephew learned a lesson.  And that is that you can’t really recreate a funny moment.  He asked me to tell his mom and grandmother the story, and I made a valiant effort to tell the story as funnily as possible, and they laughed as much as they could, but it won’t ever be as funny to anyone else besides Nephew and me.

And now that it’s recounted here, Nephew and I will never forget.


Happy Easter!