06/04/2013 05:17 pm ET Updated Aug 04, 2013

The Woman in the Mirror

"Mirror, mirror, here I stand. Who is the fairest in the land?" -- Wilhelm Grimm in Grimm's Fairy Tales

I actually enjoy going shopping with my wife, Evie. Whether it is making our way through our grocery list at Wegman's, or the birthday and anniversary card list at Hallmark, it gives us another opportunity to be together.

When we are at the mall or garden shop, or even in the store at Cracker Barrel, I love watching her look for bargains and check things out to make sure the blend of quality and cost fits our priorities. Because shopping is not my gift, I generally defer to her methods and recommendations. If my ties match my suits, it is always more of a reflection of her than of me.

Our College Board of Trustees meets twice a year and while I am in those meetings, Evie hosts the Trustee wives on a variety of excursions. Sometimes they may spend a day in New York City where she becomes the consummate tour guide. Other times they go to Lancaster County and buy things at quaint shops and take in a show at Sight and Sound or they go to Peddler's Village, Longwood Gardens, and so forth.

Recently, they all went on a shopping trip to the Philadelphia Premium Outlets. Such an experience would be rather uneventful except for what happened to her. Because their interests were varied, they decided to use the "divide and conquer" method of shopping. They sort of went in all directions.

And as they did, Evie found herself in Chico's looking for bargains. She would be much better at telling this story because what happened next happened to her. She came to a rack of sweaters and, as a good shopper, began studying closely the sizes and the designs and colors of each one. When she shops she concentrates much more than I do.

Well, as she got near the end of the rack, her elbow bumped against the woman to her right and with hardly even a glance, she quickly said, "Excuse me, I'm so sorry." The bump was minor and did not necessitate a response from the woman to her right.

She kept standing at the same place, still focusing on the rack of clothes in front of her, when she accidently again bumped against the woman to her right and again casually said, "Sorry." The moment was almost insignificant and there was no response from the woman to her right.

Moments later she found a sweater which she really liked and, as she is accustomed to do, she lifted the hanger off the rack to look at it more closely. As she did, out of the corner of her eye she noticed movement from the woman at her right and as she turned her attention to that movement, her eyes fell on the identical sweater being lifted off the rack by the woman. It momentarily startled her that they would be picking up an identical sweater at the same time.

Because of that amazing coincidence, she immediately let out a little laugh and with it these words came out of her mouth, "Oh my, I can't believe we're looking at the same sweater." But as her eyes continued to turn now to look directly at the woman to her right she was absolutely stunned to realize she was looking at herself... in a wall mirror. She quickly looked around to see if anyone had been watching her, then went into a dressing room to just laugh.

When she told me that story I laughed so hard I almost lost my breath. I am still trying to stop laughing. After much persuasion, I did get her permission to tell you this story so you could laugh too, especially if you are shopping in a store with a wall mirror and catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror.

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA
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