The Cross-dressing Burglar

Our neighbor, Gisella, lost her husband, Wes, to Alzheimer disease earlier this month, so Bill and I have been helping her with a variety of chores and odd jobs around the house. Today, for example, she called and asked if Bill could show her how to scan Wes’ obituary on her printer so she could email it to several friends who live out-of-state.

We had to make a banana run so we stopped by on our way to Albertson’s. Bill showed her how to lay the notice on the glass and walked her through the printer’s menu screen so she could scan an item to a file. Then he showed her how to find the file, rename it and attach it to an email.

We thought our work was done, but apparently trolling around in the My Documents folder on her PC, which is where the scanned image was saved, triggered a nostalgia gene and we had to sit through a slide show as she scrolled through photos of their last cruise together and pictures from Wes’ 80th birthday party the previous month. It was sad, but somehow cathartic for Gisella, so we sat silently for another 20 minutes while she reminisced.

We finally had to excuse ourselves because, even though we’d already gotten two and a half inches of rain that morning, more was coming and we didn’t want to get dumped on in the grocery store’s parking lot. We were in such a hurry to leave that I forgot my purse and didn’t realize it until we were half way to the store.

“Crap,” I exclaimed, reaching down for it and finding only dead space between my feet.

“What’s wrong?” Bill asked.

“I forgot my purse,” I replied. “I think I left it on Gisella’s kitchen table.”

“We can stop when we’re done shopping,” he offered.

“No, she was going to take a nap and I don’t want to wake her up. I’ll call her later.”

At 5:00 the phone rang and Bill answered. “Oh, hi. Patt just was getting ready to call. Yup, yup, she did. She’s on her way.”

“Gisella?” I asked, pulling on my tennis shoes, already know the answer.

“She wanted to let us know she found your purse.”

“Okay, back in a flash,” I called over my shoulder. “Or maybe a half hour if she wants to take another trip down Memory Lane.”

Gisella was opening the door as I was walking across the street and was waiting on the porch as I came up her driveway.

“Look at those clouds. Something’s going to dump some kinda stuff somewhere,” she commented before opening the door and reentering the house with me right behind her.

“Well, I gotta tell you, I gave myself quite a scare with your purse,” she exclaimed as we walked into the kitchen.

“My purse scared you?” I asked, somewhat confused. “It’s pretty plain unless black leather creeps you out,” I replied with a smile.

“No, no,” she continued. “I came in here to put my purse down after I got back from buying stamps and I saw it there and I thought someone broke into the house.”

“Do you mean like a burglar?” I asked, trying not to laugh. “A burglar with a purse?”

“Or someone else with a purse maybe,” she surmised stoically.

“Well I’m sorry my purse frightened you,” I said as I gathered it up and moved toward the front door.

“No, it’s okay. I’m glad it was yours and not some strange person in my house.”

“I guess they’d have to be pretty strange to break in, not take anything and then leave you their purse with all their money and ID inside.”

“Ya, ya, pretty stupid,” she chuckled. “They’d end up in one of those shows about stupid criminals I’ll bet.”

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