Sorry, I Digress

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

March Hares, March of Dimes, Ides of March: A confusing list. Rather like this month has turned out to be; confusing. My calendar looks like a child of two got hold of it and marked squiggles in ink all over the blocks that are designed to give order to my life. Needless to say, I have had a very hard time keeping track of where I am supposed to be and when.
Last Wednesday (that is about all I was absolutely sure of; well, kinda of), I was rushing around trying to get dressed to go to a “casual luncheon” at my friend Barb’s house over off Redwine Road in Peachtree City. It’s a drive of about 17-18 minutes, and I could tell that I was running about 20-25 minutes behind when the doorbell rang and a friend whom I was sort of expecting, dropped by to pick up the giant red riding lawn mower that has taken up a large space in our garage, doing nothing for its keep over the past five years since we moved to Senoia. (Diagram that sentence if you dare!) We were pleased that we would finally have the extra acre of space to add boxes of stuff to, so I was glad that they had arrived with the truck and manpower to “Move That Mower!” Remember that? “Move That Bus!” Ty Pennington of Atlanta had some kind of fix-it show where he would shout that at the end, and everyone who had helped on the house for a deserving family would cry and be happy.
Sorry. I digress.
Well, I was not dressed; I did have my makeup on, but my hair still needed doing up, so I could tell I was going to be late for my casual luncheon in Whitewater off Redwine Road. Bill was home to answer the door, thank goodness, for I seldom go to the door in just a robe. Bad manners, plus my friend would probably not recognize me and that would be another long conversation I just did not have time for today.
I would, however, need to at least leave my bedroom where I was finishing my “toilette,” make an appearance and explain why I could not stop to visit, which would add another 10 to 15 minutes to my ETA at my friend’s home 18 minutes away, if traffic was good. Being lunchtime and being Peachtree City, I sort of doubted that would be the case. So, what was I to do but call my friend, tell her I had forgotten her address (true), it had been many years since I had been to her lovely home; I think she has added two grandchildren and mine have gone from Thomas the Train to Georgia Tech. Sigh, time flies and sweet friends, good friends, friends I have a wonderful history with, seem to disappear into a world where Christmas cards come around with good wishes for a New Year quicker than you can say, “Jack Robinson.” An expression, by the way which has a rather checkered past. My favorite description concerning where the phrase came from was found on “The Word Detective,” a site I use when looking for odd words or phrases which, by the way, I typically run into several times a day. Here is what it has to say:
“Before you can say Jack Robinson,” meaning “quickly, in a very short time (or suddenly)” first appeared in print in 1778 in Frances (Fanny) Burney’s novel “Evelina” (“I’d do it as soon as say Jack Robinson”), but probably was in wide use before that time. The most vivid theory about the origin of the phrase traces it to a Sir John Robinson, who served as His Majesty’s Lieutenant at the Tower of London around 1600, and supposedly became famous for the alacrity with which he conducted beheadings.
Ouch! So John (or the familiar form “Jack”) was fast on the draw, quick with the blade. If I were you, I would search and read the whole discussion on “The Word Detective.” You can spend 30 minutes or an hour or two just browsing the fascinating origins of words.
Sorry. I digress.
Bill says this is why I am never on time. I always have something else to tell him, something else to say. Well, yesssss. I do. Or I can’t find my phone, glasses, wallet, keys, Bible, you name it, and that requires questions and answers. But most of the time, I have something of interest to share with him, like who Jack Robinson was.
Anyway, now where was I? Oh, yes. Telephoning my friend who I had not visited in a long time and needed directions to her home. “Hey Barb. Lynn here. I just called to ask for your address, which I’ve misplaced since I just cleaned out my kitchen cabinets where my Rol-a-dex was.” Barb then spent five precious minutes giving me excellent directions to her home which has about four twists and turns off Redwine. “And, Barb. Don’t put the Quiche in the oven yet (that’s what Barb was serving…she had told me earlier), I am running about 20 minutes behind schedule.”
It was at this point in the conversation that Barb, laughed (she has the most infectious laugh…I have missed that so very much) and said, “Don’t worry, Lynn. You have plenty of time. Our lunch isn’t until NEXT Wednesday.” Another big laugh from Barb.
If I get my hands on that two-year-old who messed with my calendar! Of course, there is no two-year-old. Just Moi. Only Me. I think that in all the confusion of trying to get ready before the folks came for the giant red riding mower, I must have forgotten to double check the date. I usually go look at the calendar every morning as I am getting my first cup of coffee, but for some reason, that morning, last Wednesday . . .
I was running late.

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