I went out to the greenhouse early in the morning to find the pecans I had picked were gone. I’d collected them in a five gallon pail and had left them on the porch. Hunters had been at the ranch all week, so it wasn’t a stretch to think maybe someone had bagged them up to take home. But something didn’t sit right with that assumption. Who would just help themselves to a bucket of pecans? As the day went on, I was preoccupied with thoughts that perhaps I had put the nuts elsewhere. The vanishing pecans puzzle stuck in my head like a bad song. By nightfall I’d ransacked the house, interrogated the hunters, and accused my husband of hiding the nuts.
A few days passed and all was forgotten as I went out to the orchard with my empty bucket to pick more pecans. Again, I left the nuts on the porch in the greenhouse and again they were gone in the morning. In an effort to keep a slew of profanity at bay, I paced the greenhouse where I noticed a trail of pecan hulks leading to the hot water heater closet. Inside Ron and I found an impressive stash of pecans. We had a thief on our hands in the form of a pack rat. Though I took some solace in knowing I wasn’t losing my mind, I couldn’t shake the fact that misplacing things is becoming an unavoidable problem.
I’m finding as the years pass, I’m having a difficult time keeping track of the things I own and my busy schedule. I have a hectic life that I would like to pin this dilemma on, but it’s more than that. Much of this is tied to forgetfulness. I keep a running grocery list on the counter that I sometimes forget to take to the store. I write appointments down in my calendar and can’t make sense of my cryptic notes: Lunch with Karen 12:30. Where are we meeting? I wonder. Free concert at the library. What time? Yes, I could keep all this information on my phone, but more often than not, I forget to charge it and forget to pack the charger when I go to town.
With the mystery of the disappearing pecans solved, I hurried to get ready for appointments I’d made in Sierra Vista. I arrived in town early and stopped by my mom’s house where, after digging through my purse, I realized I didn’t have the house keys with me. Praying the patio door was open, I went to the side gate, which was also locked. It was ten o’clock in the morning. What might a neighbor think of a middle-aged woman wearing black tights and a paisley print blouse climbing over the fence? I was hopeful it didn’t warrant a 911 call. That was five days ago, and I still haven’t found the keys to my mom’s house.
I envy the pack rat. For two nights she had one job and that was to move a couple hundred pecans ten yards from the back porch to the hot water heater closet. After we found her cache, Ron shoveled out the pecans and plugged up the hole leading to the closet. I wonder if upon finding her stockpile gone, the pack rat worried maybe she’d lost her mind or maybe, unlike me, she’d been spared the emotional upheaval of growing older.