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Ready to go?

September 26, 2021 at 12:00 a.m.

If leaving an item or two behind hints a reluctance to depart, Dear One obviously had mixed feelings about attending a men's retreat last weekend. Whatever his feelings about the weekend's events, I welcomed the prospect of a couple days by myself.

Before Dear One could go, we needed to drop a couple packages off at the post office and then pick up our other vehicle from the mechanic.

"I put my suitcase in the van so I can go on to camp from the shop. I will be leaving for camp in plenty of time to be there early," he said as he slid in behind the wheel. He drove down the street, onto the highway and took a left to the post office. As we approached the building he asked, "Hand me the packages."

I reached behind the seat and came up empty handed.

"I don't see them."

He stopped, got out, looked under his camp gear and behind the seats. "I guess we left them at home. We have time to go home and get them."

We veered away from the post office, turned off the highway and drove down our street. I found the packages where I had laid them down while I looked for a book to read in the van.

Back in the van we went back down the street, onto the highway and to the post office to drop off the packages. He still had plenty of time to pick up the car and arrive at camp early.

At the mechanic's shop, we parked near the repaired car. He hauled out his suitcase. When he started to close the door, I thought I saw something partially hidden and forgotten, "Did you get your sheets and blankets?"

"Ohhh. I forgot them. I will come back to the house and get them."

"All right. See you there." I held out my hand for the key. I was ready to go home and have the house to myself for the evening.

At the house, I gathered up a blanket, sheets, towel and washcloth and a couple pillows (one for his head, one for his knees.) As soon as he drove into the driveway, I scooped up the bundle and carried it out to the car so that he did not lose any more time.

"There's your sheet, towels, blanket, pillows. Did you get your toothbrush? And comb?" I asked about the comb only because when we travel he frequently misplaces his and asks if I have a spare. Last year I went on the offense and bought a package of combs to distribute in the cars and suitcases.

"I have my comb," he said as he started for the door. Then he stopped turned around, "I need to get my toothbrush."

"Take this glass," I said, handing him a plastic cup. I knew he would want one every time he took his medication.

I held my breath as he walked out the door, climbed in the car and backed out of the garage for the third time in an hour.

The garage door rumbled down. I flopped on the couch and sighed with contentment. I had begun searching for a show to watch when the garage door began grinding gears again.

He poked his head in the door, "I forgot my Bible."

I waved hello and good-bye from the couch.

Again he climbed into the car. He had suitcase, clothes, toothbrush, comb, linens and Bible. He did not return. Dear One arrived at camp in time for a short chat with the other guys before the dinner bell rang.

And me? Well, I remembered everything I needed to revel in some peace and quiet: I simply laid back on the couch, pulled up a blanket and soaked up some alone time.

Joan Hershberger is a former staff writer for the El Dorado News-Times and author of "Twenty Gallons of Milk and other columns from the El Dorado News-Times."

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