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Down on the Farm -- Memory loss

While visiting relatives, when I saw one of those pill dispensers in their medicine cabinet with the compartments for each day of the week which help them to remember what pill they've taken and what pill they haven't, I have always assumed they were starting to lose it.

Last week, after the pharmacist announced that it took me two months to go through one month's worth of pills, I bought one of those same dispensers.

It is an ugly thing. This afternoon, I put the pills in there for this week, one in each compartment. It took me five minutes to figure out how to open the child-proof lids to the compartments.

The letters S-M-T-W-Th-F-S on the lids are oversize. I guess they assume that your sight goes as soon as your memory fails.

The letters are also raised, which must be to help me find the right day by feel if I forget where the light switch is.

The contraption is a loud neon green, which I guess should help my caregivers find it if it falls between the cushions or if I start putting it in the freezer.

I could hide it, but with my memory the way it is, I probably would never find it.

Unlike some people, my memory problem isn't related to age and it isn't limited to pills.

I started hoarding things way back in elementary school. Whenever we came home from school to find fresh chocolate chip cookies, I would hide some to make sure I had a few left after the cousins and the siblings finished off the rest.

I rarely ever found them. The piano tuner once found three chocolate chip cookies at the base of the low A string inside the piano. They were far from fresh.

Later, I started hoarding valuable mementos, such as baseball memorabilia or African currency given to me by visiting missionaries.

Putting these valuables in odd places insured that I wouldn't play with them over and over until I either lost them or wore them out.

I learned this lesson when I ruined the baseball Mom caught at a Twins game. Instead of putting it away, as I had been instructed, I played catch with it. Soon it was as muddy as the rest of my baseballs. And as worthless.

About this time, I wrote Mrs. Clara Goltz a letter telling her that her son Dave was my favorite Twins player.

Mrs. Goltz, a resident of Rothsay, Minn., sent back a nice note on a card which had a picture of the interior of Rothsay Lutheran Church on its cover. I was thrilled!

To make sure I never lost the keepsake, the first I had acquired since the foul ball, I hid it.

Then, I wrote Harmon Killebrew telling him that he was my favorite Twins player and Mr. Killebrew -- always a gentleman -- sent me a signed baseball card.

I hid that away, too.

I have never found either memento. I have moved dozens of times since I hid the Goltz and Killebrew artifacts and they haven't resurfaced yet.

I suspect they ended up between the pages of the encyclopedia. That's where I hid printed valuables and foreign currency, usually in an obscure volume like the X-Y-Z one where nobody would have reason to look something up.

The encyclopedia still sits on a shelf at the folks' house, but I am not about to go sorting through all 20 volumes.

I should. The letter from Clara Goltz is probably pretty valuable. How many collectors can say they have a signed note from the mother of a major league pitcher who won 20 games?

If you think that's weird, I know of a lady who attended an event honoring local baseball legend Shorty Dekko. The Minnesota Twins sent a delegation to the party which included a 20-year-old pitcher named Bert Blyleven.

Blyleven only ate half his cake at the reception. The woman took the uneaten half and put it in her freezer, where it remains to this day.

Can you imagine how much that cake would be worth if Blyleven ever makes it into the Hall of Fame?

I think I'd better go take a pill.