1. Number it. Start with the number one.
2. Use a piece of scrap paper. Leftover stationery from the insurance agency is good. For the weekly list, you will need the whole page, divided in two columns. For a quick weekday list, tear off a quarter of a page.
3. Sit in your chair in the living room. The one across from the TV.
4. Write it in black ballpoint pen. Bic. Don’t write it in pencil. That will smear.
5. When your son-in-law offers to go to the store for you, make him read the list aloud to you before he leaves the house. When he hesitates on an item, tell him to hand the list back to you and write the name of that item in block print above your script.
6. Apologize to your son-in-law for your terrible handwriting.
7. If your son-in-law comes home with two cakes, a chocolate and a vanilla, instead of the two cukes you needed for the tomato salad, make a big fuss over the cakes. Pretend like they are the most beautiful cakes you’ve ever seen, like you didn’t even know Rouse’s made cakes at all.
8. Make a pot of coffee. Eat the cake. Go on and on about how moist it is.
9. Slice two extra pieces, put them on paper plates, cover them loosely with foil, and ask your daughter to walk one over to Miss Lorraine and one over to Aunt Sally.
10. Throw the list away.
Originally from southwest Louisiana, Elizabeth Boquet now lives and works in southwest Connecticut. She writes to bridge the distances between New Orleans and New Haven. Her writing has appeared in Full Grown People, 100-Word Story, and The Bitter Southerner.