We all lose things. Some big, some small. And of course it’s never complete without someone asking the classic question, “where did you lose it?” Would it actually be lost if I knew the answer to that question? That said, our family seems to own the record on losing things, phones, wallets, coins, rings and yes, keys. In the midst of this, it has usually been me that finds them. Even though my family members didn’t know where they lost them, I seemed to have known where they did. My secret, think like I’m the item lost and then ask myself where would I have tried to make my escape.
Yesterday, it was my turn to lose something. While traipsing through fields of Christmas trees, searching for the perfect one, I managed to lose my car keys. Of course that hadn’t become apparent until we headed to the car, ready to load our trees. It was a family outing and all three families had cut trees. There I stood, all eyes on me as I frantically searched every pocket of my pants, sweatshirt and coat for what I immediately knew wasn’t there. Now this isn’t the first time I have lost my keys, If you read my blogs you will remember an episode on a trip to Seattle; see “Angels Among Us”.
It was my wife who issued the obvious question, “where did you lose them?” And at that moment I definitely was wishing I knew. Time to begin retracing my steps. There was that point where I pulled my gloves out of my coat, but no. Then it was probably when I laid down to cut the tree. That meant finding the right spot and the exact stump, but even when I did, still no. So how about when I trudged back out to the field to find my grandchildren. Could I have dropped them when I picked up Adela. Yeah, no. Well, I carried her what seemed like a mile, so lets back track through that trek. No luck. Maybe when we climbed on board the hay wagon for our ride back, no help. At this point things were looking bleak but at least I was getting my steps in.
Now you would have thought I’d have started with lost and found. Of course I didn’t, so we headed to the cute and cozy gift shop next. You maybe thought this is where the story would end. And for that moment, I had you. Gift shop, no luck either. Time to split up. Eli takes our path out to the field. Kathryn heads for the play area, Adela and I had visited there earlier. John heads for the tree bundling area. Bailey takes the high ground and watches the kids in the warm environs of the gift shop. Her claim later was that she had total faith in my finding them, the logic of a math teacher. And me, I had one last ditch place to check.
I saw her there in her bright yellow jacket and thought why not. As I walked by her work station at the tree shaker, I asked, with desperation in my voice, “any chance you found some keys?” And to my amazement and relief she replied, “oh, I did but I haven’t turned them in yet.” As she reached in her pocket, I just knew they were going to be mine. And they were.
If there is a message in this story, and there are many, the one that sticks out is never stop looking, even when you think you looked everywhere. Patience IS a virtue. Of course asking the girl in the yellow coat before walking a couple of miles might have been a good one too.