The world is filled with little lessons — like how you shouldn’t get rid of the baby crib and stroller because just as sure as there are 2 a.m. feedings, you’re going to get a surprise visit from the stork. Or, how about the way washing your car can bring on the rain and carrying a clunky umbrella will ensure that not a single drop falls?
Our mothers generally sit in the seat of wisdom with admonishments to wear our nicest undergarments to stave off getting into an accident — except now that scenario should be expanded to reflect the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on strip searches. Dads also impart things worth learning — like never buy a brand new car. For my father it’s less about depreciating value and more along the lines that if you get yourself something nice, there’s a shopping cart just waiting to inflict a giant scratch and dent on the door.
I’ve had a lifetime of being taught lessons on losing things, whether it’s important paperwork that I know probably ended up in last week’s recycle bin, or the time I lost my wallet.
It was two summers ago and I was on my way home from visiting my parents. Reaching inside my purse for money to buy a bottle of water after they had dropped me off at the bus station, I had that panic of coming up empty handed. I called them on my cell phone and they scoured the house and their van to no avail. My next call was to the credit card company and two days later I was standing in line at the MVA getting a replacement driver’s license.
“You know, don’t you,” a friend intoned, “that as soon as you go to all that trouble you’re going to find your wallet.”
It took two weeks, but he was right. My wallet was wedged under the driver’s side seat of the folks’ van. It must have fallen out when I checked my purse one last time for my bus ticket because everyone knows that if you don’t check one last time for your ticket it surely is going to be sitting on the nightstand when you need it.
My friend Candy says she has a sure-fire way of saving her sanity when things go missing. Much as she may be tempted toward profanity, she instead calls on St. Anthony, said to be the patron saint of lost things. Her plea goes like this: “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come down. Something is lost and can’t be found.”
I maybe should have thought about the dear saint the other day when I stepped outside on garbage collection day and found the lid, but not the trash can. The can was more than a little grody and I couldn’t imagine someone wanting to steal it, yet it wasn’t so beat up that the garbage guys would just chuck it onto their truck. But the wind had been fierce enough to send it sailing, so I searched up and down the street and even asked a neighbor if she had seen it. Nope.
I lost no time, going to the store and forking out money for a new can. A few hours later, the neighbor knocked on my door with the vagabond can in hand. Of course. But you know if I hadn’t bought the new can, the old one wouldn’t have turned up and I wouldn’t have what is now going to be a rain barrel for keeping my backyard garden growing this summer. Then again, with a rain barrel in my possession, we’re no doubt going to have a wet summer.
— Nancy Luse is a freelance writer living in Frederick, Md., and never did find that missing paperwork that was so important.