Calvin Trillin is an American journalist, humorist, poet and novelist. One of his recent columns is entitled “Did You Forget Something Lady?” The true story goes like this. Laetitia and Ralph Jackson set off on their vacation in their new RV. Somewhere in Tennessee, Ralph asks Laetitia to drive; he’s getting tired. He’s going to take a nap in the back of the van. Well, Laetitia has to make a rest stop. When she comes back, off they go, or so she thinks. The car is gassed up and Laetitia is determined to drive all the way from the rest stop to Bristol, Connecticut.
She barrels down the interstate toward that goal for about an hour when their new cell phone rings. She is not sure how to operate the phone so she yells back to Ralph to answer the phone. Of course, no Ralph. That surprises her somewhat, but she quickly realized what happened. Still unable to free the phone from the cradle, she stops at the next rest area. Walking into the roadside café, she says to the woman at the counter, “I think I’ve just the dumbest things in my life. I left my husband at a rest stop 45 miles down the interstate.” The woman behind the counter, obviously a seasoned no-nonsense woman, says, “The only question left Honey is whether or not you’re going to bother to go back and get him.” Laetitia does go back, of course, but not after having a good belly laugh, and according to her husband later, giving the woman’s question some consideration. As she pulls into the rest stop, she sees Ralph leaning up against the phone booth. She stops, gets out of the van, looks at Ralph, who says, “Forget something lady?”
If you were like me, before the Coronavirus struck, you would have barreled down the interstate of life, hell-bent on getting there. Getting where? Where everyone else is getting. But where’s that? Keeping up with the Joneses? More personal freedom? My own space? To be left alone? No controversy? Pleasing everyone at all costs? Now there are new questions. Have I forgotten something? Should I ask: “How can I help?” “What can I do?” “What are my responsibilities to my family, to my church community, to the common good?” If there is any message Jesus Christ speaks, by his life, by his teaching, by his healing, by his dying and his rising, it is that we are not on this planet for ourselves alone. The height for the Christian is not freedom, its duty. Have you forgotten something Christian? Have I forgotten something? If yes, how about going back and picking it up?