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It was Saturday morning, March 26, 2016, when the phone rang as I was making coffee. “Debbie,” my dad said. “I can’t find my new mattress protector.” He had just bought a new bed. I was thrilled. At eighty-six, he seemed confident he’d be around a while. And of course he had also bought a mattress protector.

“My friend, Lewis, put the bed together for me,” he said. “So I’m not sure what he did, and I don’t see it. I want to go over to the store, and have them show me what it looks like.”

There was a pause. It had been a long week. I was stressed out and tired. I didn’t want to ask, “Do you want me to go with you?” But I did.

There was another pause. “Well, that would be ideal!” I loved his enthusiasm. I miss feeling needed like that. “I’m just ready to eat my breakfast,” he said. “I’ll call you back.”

My husband rolled his eyes a little when I told him. He was really generous though with the amount of time I was spending with my dad. I was at Dad’s condo more than our home lately. He said to tell Dad to look around for it because it was probably right there.

But I called Steinhafel’s instead to check out Dad’s order to see if it had included a mattress protector. That didn’t go well. I got frustrated with the salesperson.

After a while, just as I was on my way over, Dad called back to say he had talked to Mattress Firm about the mattress protector.

“Mattress Firm!” I said. Not Steinhafel’s?

“Yes, and guess what?”


“The protector was on the mattress all along. Everything’s straightened out. What I thought was the fitted sheet is also the mattress protector.”

“Oh, I was just on my way over,” I said.

“Well, I hate to ever tell you not to come over.”

“Okay, I’ll come over anyway. I’ll pick up some jelly donuts.”

When I arrived at Dad’s condo, I had to check out the situation for myself. And all I could find was a fitted sheet. “Dad, you were right. I don’t see a mattress protector.”

The protective boot he was wearing on his sore foot, which is another story, squeaked as he made his way down the hall.

“They said it looks like a fitted sheet,” he said sounding a tad annoyed that I would challenge his conclusion. It was always a delicate balance. I had learned my lesson. He needed to make his own decisions. I would only very carefully offer suggestions, if and when it seemed appropriate or absolutely necessary. “It’s there,” he had already resolved the situation.

“Dad, that is the fitted sheet.” I had to speak up. “You have a mattress pad here, and a fitted sheet, I do not see a mattress protector.” Just as he entered the room, I noticed a small box sitting on top of his dresser. “What’s this?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t open it.”

I read the label on the box, “Mattress Protector”. We looked at each other.

“I guess I should have opened the box.”

“How about a jelly-filled donut?”

Oh, I miss those days with Dad. Joy always came wrapped up in things like mattress protector boxes.

He was big on preserving traditions, and that day, it was my turn to carry it on. Just think of all that sugar first thing.

Saturday morning had always meant donuts and hard rolls when I was growing up. That went back several generations.

When I sat beside my grandpa at the breakfast table, I’d watch as he pulled the dough out from the inside of his hard roll and would only eat the crust. I don’t know why. But I ate the dough.

Dad died that June, but he sure kept his fighting spirit to the finish. So, here it is Saturday morning, six years later to the day. I rarely eat donuts, but I’m wondering, do muffins count?

My pops. March 26, 2016

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