Fast forward fifty years. Mom and I had been zipping in and out of the car all morning going to yard sales on a hot summer day. Mom liked to linger; I preferred to scan the items, make a purchase and/or move on to the next sale. It wasn't unusual for me to wander off, especially when there were several sales in the same area. By 12:30 we were tired and agreed we'd had enough for one day. She asked me to take her to the grocery store before taking her home. As I was heading there, I noticed a sign for a block sale ahead on a cul-de-sac street with eight houses.
I was so excited by this wonderful end to our yard sale day. I couldn't wait to get out of the car for this last hurrah. Most of the tables and displays were picked over that late in the day. I rushed from one sale to the other. After I made several purchases, I turned around to show Mom my treasures. I looked down the block. Up the block. I hightailed it, and back tracked around the arc of a street to the first house. My throat felt tight, I was on the verge of panic. Where could she have gone? I revisited every yard and peered into every garage. My heart pounded wildly. I felt like that little seven year old girl again who had lost her mommy. Alone, lost, afraid...for her well being this time, not mine.
I asked each homeowner, "Have you seen my mom? I seem to have lost her. Little, elderly, white haired woman wearing a white visor cap? She was just with me."
"I thought you said you'd be right back!" Mom said accusingly as she slid into the passenger seat with her groceries.
By the time I drove her to her apartment, we were laughing so hard we were both crying.
I feel like that middle aged woman who thought she'd lost her mom at the yard sales.