We all make mistakes. Some folks learn from them. Some folks keep repeating them. Steeley Dan had a record out when I was in college. It was about a guy who committed a crime and was let go because the lawman wasn’t hanging that day, but the guy went “right back Jack, and did it again”.
Now I have made a ton of mistakes in my life. Some silly, some foolish, and some accidentally.
For instance, I was allowed to “receive company” when I was 16 with my parents in the house and my 14-year old sister present in the room. I rarely invited a boy over to the house.
However, there was one boy who was friendly, nice and he liked me a lot. So I invited him to our house. My sister, Laurie, enjoyed being the chaperon. She had control in a way. I couldn’t tell her to leave the room or to stop making a nuisance of herself.
Now, Robert had bulging eyes like Marty Feldman and had false teeth. It was rare for a young person to have false teeth. I think he was in a sport’s accident. Well, Laurie wanted to see his teeth! And do you know, he took them out!!!
I was flabbergasted … outdone … fit to be tied!
I figured that was a one-time event, but the next time he came to visit, my sister asked to see the teeth again, AND HE TOOK THEM OUT!
Well, inviting him over was a mistake I didn’t make again.
Often we speak mistakes. We sometimes say things that are true, but they are received differently by others. In the 90’s, I worked for Wayne State University in Detroit. After four years, I was burned out. I was bringing too much of the job-stress home. So much so that Floyd, my husband, asked me to quit the job. That was all I needed to hear. I resigned.
At my last staff meeting, I made the obligatory speech. At the end of the speech, one of the 30 or so staff attending asked what was I going to do now. I was so glad to be leaving, I said, “I’m going home and let my husband take care of me.”
Denna, the Department Executive, stood up and said, “Shar, you just set the women’s liberation movement back 100 years!”
Let me tell you about another type of mistake, a written communication mistake. I had a great-great uncle, Uncle Luke, who lived to be 108. He was born in Alabama, but lived most of his life in Lima, Ohio. When he was 99, he asked to come and live with my mother in Indianapolis. He was in good health and got around well.
My mom used to spend time with Uncle Luke and Aunt Lena in Lima when my mom was growing up in Detroit. Aunt Lena died in January 1949; just three months after I was born. My mom has often spoken about how sad she was that Aunt Lena never got to see me, Mama’s first child.
Well, Uncle Luke was more than a notion to live with. He and my Mom had worked out room and board arrangement. Uncle Luke insisted on having receipts! Who knew why? He had his own room, was well fed and his clothes were washed and ironed.
Uncle Luke also had a deep mistrust of banks. (Now on this, I can relate.) He had my mother help him open a saving account at the bank. He had $2,000. A few days later, he took it out the bank. Soon, my Mom convinced him to put the money in a safety deposit box. Then, Uncle Luke insisted on going to the bank everyday to check on his money. This was driving my Mom insane! They ended up putting his money under his mattress.
These were only a few of the “worriments” dealing with Uncle Luke.
Eventually, Uncle Luke decided to move back to Alabama and stay on family property. He decided to take the train home. He asked my Mom to send a telegram from the train depot to his great-nephew, Chester.
Meet Luke at the train station on Monday at 2 PM. He is coming home.
Chester just happened to be the local undertaker. Well, as old as Uncle Luke was, what was Chester to think? Chester went to the train station with his hearse to pick up the casket. Chester was in total shock when Uncle Luke “walked off” the train!
These incidents were harmless mistakes. They are the kind you laugh at yourself about, but make a mental note not to do again.
“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea