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The Lost Cap
by Martin Green



  “Have you seen my cap?” I asked my wife Sally.

  “Which one?”

  “The one that says NY on it, that David got me for Christmas.” David is our oldest son and the NY was for the NY Giants, the football Giants, a team of which, since I grew up in New York, I’d been a fan of, mostly a long-suffering one, since I was a kid.

  “No. When was the last time you wore it?”

  “Well, let’s see, I always put it on when I go out and I went to the pool room this morning, then I went to Safeway to get the bread you forgot to get for me yesterday.”

  “I didn’t forget. I had too many other things on my shopping list and you didn’t really need it.”

  “I didn’t need it yesterday but I’ll need it today.”

  “So go to Safeway and get it.”

  “I have to find my cap first. Maybe I left it in the pool room.”

  “Didn’t we go to the Galleria yesterday? We had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Maybe you left it there, like when you left your credit card there.”

  Sally and I lived in a Northern California retirement community, Sun City Roseville, and the Galleria was Roseville’s main shopping mall. “That was six months ago and you’re supposed to remind me to put my credit card back in my wallet. You forgot that time.”

  “Hah!” said Sally.

  Sally and I were both senior citizens and I’d noticed that we’d been forgetting things more and more recently. This was what’s referred to as having a “senior moment,” or, as we called it, a “Sun City moment.”

  I tried to recall what we’d did yesterday. As Sally had said, we went to the Galleria. This was to return something I’d bought Sally for Christmas, a neck and back massager from Brookstone’s. It had sounded good as described on Brookstone’s website and had gotten a lot of positive reviews, but instead of giving a gentle massage it had pounded on Sally’s back, and my back, too, when I tried it, like an enraged masseur. I knew I had my cap on when we’d left Brookstone’s because after that Sally had gone to Macy’s to buy some makeup stuff and I’d said I’d go to the Cheesecake Factory and meet her there.  

  Brookstone’s, needless to say, was at the opposite end of the mall from the exit I needed to go to the restaurant. After walking for what seemed like a few miles down the mall corridor I spied what looked like a fairly comfortable chair and headed directly toward it. After I’d collapsed in it I noticed that the fellow, who also looked like a senior citizen, sitting in a chair next to it also wore a cap with an NY on it. We got into a conversation and found out we were both New Yorkers, me from the Bronx and him from Brooklyn. His name was Phil.  He too lived in a Sun City, not our Roseville one, but its sister retirement community in nearby Lincoln. Added to that, he was a tennis player like myself, or like I’d been until my knees gave out, and had also played handball back in New York. When he mentioned Victor Herschkowitz, who’d been the Babe Ruth of handball when I was a kid, I knew I’d found a kindred soul. We talked about our New York days until I realized I hadn’t seen Sally come by and I told him I had to go as I was supposed to meet my wife for lunch. We quickly exchanged phone numbers and e-mails and said we’d get together soon. I rushed to the Cheesecake Factory, or rather plodded as quickly as my knees allowed, and luckily found Sally just coming out.

  “Where have you been?” she demanded. “I looked all over for you in the restaurant. I was going to look for you in the mall. I thought you might have fallen or something.”

  “Why would I fall? I met someone …..well, let’s go back into Cheescake and I’ll tell you all about it.”

  So that’s how I knew I still had my cap while in the Galleria.

  Had I left the cap in the restaurant? I tried to remember but I drew a blank. I thought I still had it when we got back. “I’m going to Lodge and see if I left my cap in the pool room,” I told Sally.

  A half a dozen or so of my fellow retirees were in the pool room when I got there. Nobody had seen a cap. I went into the Lodge office where they had a lost and found. The box had a few caps, a jacket and a cell phone, but not my cap. I drove back home and called Safeway. No, nobody had seen a lost cap. “Why don’t you call the restaurant?” said Sally. I did but the girl who answered told me that nobody had turned in a cap yesterday.

  “I guess I’ve lost a cap,” I told Sally.

  “It won’t be the first one,” she said.

  “At least it wasn’t a credit card,” I said.

  The phone rang. The voice on the other end said it was Phil. I didn’t know who he was for a moment but then he said, “Phil. We met in the Galleria yesterday. Phil from Brooklyn.”

  “Oh, right.”

  “I have your New York Giants cap.”

  “You do. How’d you get it?”

  “When my wife finished shopping she wanted to go to lunch. I remembered you said you were going to the Cheesecake Factory so we went there. I asked the hostess if there’d been another guy there wearing an NY cap. She said she thought there was and kind of waved to the back. I went and looked. I didn’t see anyone but I saw a cap at one of the tables and recognized it so I picked it up.”

  “That’s amazing.”

  “I guess so. I was going to call you yesterday when we got back from the mall.”

  “Why didn’t you?”

  “I guess I forgot.   It was a Sun City moment. My wife reminded me just now.”

  We talked some more and made a date for Phil and his wife to come over to our Sun City for lunch the next week. “I’ll write it down,” said Phil.”

  “So will I. Better yet, I’ll tell my wife.”




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