I notice faults in folks, faults that I have forgotten I possessed myself. I am quick to judge, unwilling to forgive, particularly when the sin is a sin that I, myself, have committed. I get annoyed at people who get captivated by personalities, or fall into conspiracy theories, forgetting the times I’ve fallen for lies myself. I forget how pain or loss or sudden change can put a person in a fearful position, willing to believe just about anything.
One time, a relative of mine failed to recognize her own pair of pants. It happened in the dressing room of a Goodwill store in East Texas. This relative, who I’ll call Maggie, was trying on clothes with her sister –I’ll call her Bertha. Maggie and Bertha were both in their 80s, and both of them were widows. For fun sometimes, they shopped yard sales and thrift stores, hunting for treasures, hoping for bargains. Most of the time, they bought clothes for their grandchildren, but sometimes they bought for themselves. They were shopping for themselves that day at the Goodwill, and they were both trying on pants. Maggie tried on one pair and then another, while Bertha did the same.
“Those fit you perfectly,” Maggie said to her sister, when Bertha tried on the second pair. “You should buy these!”
Seconds later, Maggie took off the pants she had tried on, and since she was finished trying on pants, she planned to put her own pants back on. But she couldn’t find them. She stood in her underwear and blouse, hands on her hips, looking puzzled.
“Where are my pants?” she asked her sister in a high-pitch voice, almost singing.
Bertha looked around for the pants. She bent herself over, hands on her knees, checking every nook and cranny on the dressing room floor. And when she rotated herself in this position, Maggie noticed her sister’s rear, and the pants that were covering that rear looked strangely familiar.
“My pants!” Maggie exclaimed. “My pants are on you!”
April Pickle lives under a green roof with her husband, four children, and two dogs. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and teaches journalism and literature at a university-model high school. One cold day, when April was in the fourth grade, she closed the car door on her winter coat and, unbeknownst to her or her father, prevented the door from latching all the way. Half a mile down the road, her daddy turned a corner, the door flew open, and she fell out. Thanks to the thickness of the coat, she was unharmed.