There, but for the the kindness of strangers, goes my wallet
I guess I should be grateful that no one's head was in the way when my big, fat, maroon wallet flew off my trunk lid and into the street that fateful night. While I frittered away the hours consuming dinner, wine and good conversation at the cozy abode of my writer friend, Lynn, I was blissfully unaware that I would — once more — find myself relying on the kindness of strangers.
Over the years, I'd chucked the cowhide leather BFMW missile full with everything from a flattened penny from the Seattle Space Needle to an impressive array of coffee punch cards — a few approaching free espresso nirvana.
It wasn't until I arrived home that I sensed a lightening of my load and knew what was missing. After eliminating the possibilities of: a) having left it at my friend's when foraging for the keys; b) it having fallen from my purse and into my car or; c) my having placed it in the refrigerator while looking for my cellphone, I knew what I had done.
When I told Lynn, she remained calm and told me seriously, "If you did that, (left my wallet on the trunk of my car), you must be getting senile."
"Not yet," I said.
Though I hate to admit it, for the sake of truth in journalism, I must: Just a couple of days prior, I'd left my notebook atop my car and driven off. I saw something fluttering white in my sideview mirror and quietly turned around to retrieve the splayed pages. But my wallet? Apparently, absent-mindedness knoweth no bounds.
I'd visited Ray's Food Place for chicken and ice cream prior to Lynn's. I had removed my wallet while hunting for my elusive keys and failed to put it back. Lynn was even more helpful when she suggested I call the Eagle Point Police on the rare chance someone had turned it in to them. Meanwhile, I prowled slowly through a darkened Ray's parking lot hoping to see my fat, old standby. Nothing.
I reminisced about another time when a freshly baked pecan pie went sailing like a sweet discus to splat in the street. My goal had been to impress my fiancé with my baking skills, but the only impressions made that day were tire tracks through my prone dessert.
When my phone rang back at Ray's, it was Officer Davis of our valiant EP Police Department. He had my wallet, complete with coffee cards, credit card and all $8 in cash. He didn't know what wonderful person had turned it in, but they'd found it in the middle of the road, forsaken and alone.
"I can't believe I could do something that stupid," I blurted to him.
"It happens," was his gracious reply.
"I could kiss you." I said, hopeful, but he didn't take me up on the offer.
I was curious and wondered what other types of things folks had launched from their vehicles in ignorance. So, I called their department a couple days later and spoke with kindly Officer Leonard, who related a story about a man who was driving down the road when a $100 bill landed slap against his windshield. As he slowed, he saw a couple more in the street, and the wallet from which they'd escaped. There was $423 total. The good citizen turned it in to the police, and they phoned the owner. The Iowa couple had been touring the West. They'd driven clear to Redding by the time they got the call.
Thanks to the honesty of one man, their memory of our little town will remain bright among their travels, I'll wager.
And a heartfelt thank you to my benefactor who rescued me from hours of automated phone calling heck to replace the contents. I could kiss you.
Peggy Dover is a freelance writer who works from a 1900 farmhouse in Eagle Point. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.