He thought he had some errands to run, so he went into town to run them.
But when he got into town, he could not-for the life of him-remember what errands he had to run. So he walked from one end of State Street to the other and looked into each and every shop and wondered if that was the one. He felt what remained of his thatch, and knew he was not due for a haircut, and he was quite certain he had picked up his wife’s new dress from the dress shop, and he even went into the cleaners and asked if he had any cleaning.
“None,” his friend Susan assured him. “You got it all last week.”
“Good. And I have nothing to drop off, so, well-“
Well, he decided none of the shops seemed to have need of his patronage.
Not a one had what he needed, not even the bookstore, because he had a pile by the bed that he would have to live three lifetimes to get to.
He had thought he had some errands to run, and now here he was standing in the middle of town wondering just what to do when, lo and behold, he heard the morning train rumble its way across the bridge down below the bluff.
Hmm, he thought, I’m sure I have some errands to run in the big city. I bet I do, and now that I’m retired, I bet I don’t have to hurry back.
And so he rushed down to the station, bought himself a ticket, and boarded the train to the big city.
And when he got there, he discovered that the errand that he just had to run there was to buy himself a brand-new straw hat with a wide brim for summer.
For summer was going to come eventually despite the continuing snow and cold, and the wife had been pestering him to shade his face and ears from the ravages of the sun, and he could think of no better protection against that pernicious sun than that brand-new straw hat with a wide brim in the window of that hat shop in that arcade of upscale specialty shops he liked to stroll when he was in the big city.
And so, in no time flat, he was admiring himself and his new chapeau in the hat shop’s mirror.
“Makes sense to me,” he said.
The sales clerk, a smart young woman of considerable poise and beauty, smiled at the geezer from the morning train and said: “It not only makes sense, it makes you look like a man on a mission.”
“Well,” the man from the morning train said, “Now I have a mission to keep my wife from killing me for buying a brand-new straw hat.”
“It’s not a hat, sir, it’s an investment in your health and happiness. And when she sees you in it tonight, she’ll-well, you know.” The sweet young thing winked suggestively, and the old guy from the morning train relished his ride home on the afternoon train.