The Madson Way

They call it the Madson Way. And by they I mean the two women who married my sons who happen to be a lot like their father who happens to be a lot like his father before him. Let me explain.

My dad is a wonderful man. He was a Lutheran minister who served several congregations during his 45 years in the preaching ministry. Everybody liked my dad. Well, everybody except the church softball coach who once told him to go to hell after we lost a tournament game that we should’ve won.

My dad wasn’t perfect, however. He had one quirk that became more and more noticeable as he got older. He had a tendency to misplace things. Notice I didn’t say he had a tendency to lose things, because in 83% of the cases where he misplaced things, he eventually found those things, and by things I mean three items in particular: his checkbook, his camera and his eyeglasses.

It’s almost impossible to recount the number of times he left his checkbook on top of the car when filling up with gas or the number of times he left his camera sitting somewhere or the number of times he asked, “Has anybody seen my glasses?”

I’d like to think I inherited some of my dad’s good qualities. When I was a kid, everybody liked me. Well, everybody except Donald Gonnerman, who beat me up one day and taught me the important lesson that 4th-graders shouldn’t lip off to 6th-graders.

Just as any genetic trait can show up in a parent’s progeny, my tendency for misplacing things has become more noticeable as I’ve gotten older. Notice I didn’t say my tendency for losing things because in 83% of the cases where I’ve misplaced things, I eventually find them and by things I mean three items in particular: my checkbook, my camera and my eyeglasses.

Three stories should suffice:

Back when I was teaching middle school, I used to take my 7th-graders on occasional field trips. We’d pile into a handful of cars and head off to some local place of interest. On one of those trips, my Ford Tempo stuffed with rambunctious middle-schoolers, I stopped to put some gas in my car. As we pulled out of the gas station, I noticed in the rear view mirror that something had blown off the top of my car. It looked like my blue checkbook which held my cash and my credit cards. The checkbook hit the pavement and its contents spilled out all over the side of the road. I pulled over immediately and before I could say anything, a bunch of my students had piled out of the car and were running out into the middle of the road gathering up the bills and credit cards that were blowing around. Fortunately, none of them were hit by other cars or our field trip could have ended up as an extended visit to the local emergency room.

It’s the Madson Way.

A couple years ago, my wife and I flew to Brazil on a business trip. We brought along our translator named Tanara and after we landed in Vitoria, we went to the car rental place to pick up our vehicle for the week. The three of us drove to our hotel which was 30 minutes from the airport. Two days later, we started getting ready for our first meeting. One of my jobs was to take pictures at the event, so I had brought along my trusty Nikon D-7000 and a set of three expensive lenses. After looking around our hotel room, I said, “Honey, did you put my camera somewhere?” She gave me one of those looks that said, “Really? Again?” It was then I realized I had no idea where it was.

I called Tanara and we tried to think of where I might have left it. Did I say we were in Brazil where a bag filled with $5,000 worth of camera equipment might be a tempting find? Finally, we decided to drive back to the rental car office by the airport, thinking that might be the only place I could have left it. We burst through the door, and Tanara started speaking in rapid-fire Portuguese to the woman behind the counter. At first, she didn’t seem to understand what we were looking for, but then she reached down behind the counter and held up my black camera bag. She had a big smile on her face and said, “E isso que voce esta procurado?” (Is this what you’re looking for?)

It’s the Madson Way.

My eyesight didn’t start deteriorating until I turned 50, at which time I started wearing reading glasses. I visited a local optometrist to get my eyes tested and then bought a pair of $300 reading glasses, which I promptly lost three days later. From that point on I decided that, going forward, I would buy six-packs of reading glasses at CVS for $11.99. Still, I usually misplace at least four or five pairs a week. The other day I was down to my last pair – again – and I couldn’t find them anywhere. My wife was in the kitchen, so I called across the room, “Honey, have you seen my reading glasses?”

She looked up, paused for a second and said, “You mean the reading glasses on top of your head?”

The last time our kids came to visit us in Florida, my youngest son lost his wedding ring in the Gulf of Mexico and my oldest son lost his driver’s license on the beach.

They call it the Madson way.

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