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Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Where, if not here, am I?
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Feb 23, 2014
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Transitioning from being an older person to being an old person is like a frog that’s being ingested by a snake, hind legs first.  It’s too late for the frog to stop the process but it has a perfectly clear understanding of what’s happening. 

My dad owned a clothing store on the downtown square, and it was located next to a drugstore.  One day, an elderly gentleman walked through the door of my dad’s shop, stopped at the glass gift case, and said, “Coca-Cola, please.” 

Daddy figured the glaucoma-wrapped man was confused and, no doubt, he thought he was next door.  My dad said, “Coming right up.”  He briskly walked out the back door of his store, took a few steps in the alley, and slipped through the back door of the drugstore.  Moments later, he returned with a 12-ounce fountain glass of Coca-Cola.  The man drank his soda while standing at the counter, looking around.  When he had finished, he slapped a dime on the glass case, turned around, and walked out the door.  Confusion comes in all makes and models. 

The layout of chain stores is usually set---you can walk into any Walmart building and pretty much maneuver the facility from memory.  When I commuted to work every day near DFW, I occasionally visited a nearby Irving Walmart during my lunch hour.  My mind would play tricks on me, and I was often surprised that I didn’t recognize anyone. 

One day, while shopping in Walmart at home, my mind did it again---I thought I was in Irving.  Spotting a friend of mine in the produce department, I greeted her with “Wow.  What are you doing in here?” 

She seemed glad to see me…in a lukewarm way.  “Uh…well, I needed a bell pepper and some sweet potatoes.”   

“You’re a long way from home, aren’t you?”   

Her smile was weak.  “Hmmm. I guess.  Not so far that I couldn’t have walked, though.” 

“Yeah, right.”  

The mind pranks continue.  I’ve been known to shove a soiled tablecloth through the drive-thru window at a fast food joint, thinking I was at the cleaners.  Once, I wandered into an establishment and asked a topless barista for hot chocolate for my six-year-old son. 

This past week, my luncheon date and I agreed to meet at Cracker Barrel in Sherman.  What a crowded restaurant!  I had to park so far from the front door that I dreaded retracing my steps to the Louisiana border after lunch. 

The Country Store is the nostalgic highlight of visiting Cracker Barrel.  Eagerly, I walked through the front door, expecting to see packages of candy from my childhood---Sugar Babies, Valomilk, Baby Ruth, Bit-o-Honey, wax lips, and Luden’s Wild Cherry cough drops.  Instead, my nostrils were assaulted with wafts of sweet basil. 

How did I get in Olive Garden?