Today I am grateful for honest people. I did a really dumb thing. Really, really dumb.
It was after a long, blistery hot, humid day at the Bluegrass & Blueberry Festival and a winding ride home that I decided we should stop at Walmart for the things we only seem to be able to find there. Did you get that my exhaustion is a disclaimer for doing something dumb? Good. It’s working.
We pounded through the 400 miles of the mega-store, checked-out and headed to the car with our cart full of necessary crap. We load the car and John puts the cart back where we had gotten it from in the lot.
All the way home I whined about how hot it was and how I couldn’t wait to get home, change clothes and get to the pool for a dip. I knew it would be the only way to cool down fast.
In the driveway we unloaded and I said, “Where’s my little purse thing?” I had switched over to a smaller one for the festival because I hate carrying my big bag at things like that, so I keep little shoulder purses under the seat in my car. “Do you have it?” I asked John. “Did you put it in one of the bags?” John is not accustomed to handling my purse unless absolutely necessary. He hates being sent into it at all. And it didn’t match his outfit. He assured me he didn’t have it. I couldn’t find it. It didn’t have much in it. . .just my license, ATM card, $35 cash, lipstick and my phone. . .in other words, my life! How would I go on without that lipstick? I was SURE it had to be under the seat, but it wasn’t.
“I’m going to have to go back to Walmart,” I said, exhausted, hot, upset and near tears. I asked John to get his cell phone so we could call mine first, just to be sure it wasn’t hiding someplace in the car. It wasn’t. “Do you want me to go with you?” he asked, with very little enthusiasm. I said I did. Now that’s marriage! It was a pretty quiet ride. . .on his part. Smart man.
“This was a bad Walmart to leave a purse at. Some of those people in there would steal the shoes from your mother. It must be in the cart. It must have slipped down the side. That’s the last place I saw it. What am I gonna do? My phone! We cannot afford to lose money or have someone breech our account.” I was terrified-babbling. He’s been trained to not “fix”, especially when I have diarrhea of the lips, so all he said was, “We can cancel the card.”
We checked the parking lot. Nope. I asked our check-out person if he had seen it? “Maybe I didn’t have it outside and it slipped down among the bags,” I said. He didn’t even remember me from 15 minutes ago. Nope. He sent me to the head checker. Nope. Who sent me to the Service Desk. Two women looked all over. Nope. I was bereft. “No one will turn it in now. It’s been too long,” I said to the service gals. “Don’t be so sure,” one said. “Often people turn things in and if our guys who bring carts in found it, they won’t bring it here until they are done.”
As I was leaving, shoulders slumped, everything about me hang-dog, the head checker rushed past me and said, “Just wait. Let me look in one more place.” I flopped to a metal bench like I had been beaten. Oh boy. Visions of problems danced in my head like sugar plumbs. I had no clue where John was looking, but he was not around.
Then I heard a phone ring. Muffled. My hound-dog ears perked up. It sounded like mine, but a lot of phones do, so I looked at the long waiting line at the service counter. No one was reaching for a phone. I flipped my head around like a berserk beagle looking for a flying cookie. “That sounds like my phone,” I said out loud. The line turned to stare. The service counter women stared. The head checker stopped in his tracks.
“I found this little purse in a cart outside,” a woman, who reminded me of a friend who was in one of my first plays (Pat E.) said, holding it up. “That’s it! You found it!?” I leaped to my feet. Yes leaped! She got a really good Mary Mooney hug! Poor thing. She’s probably in traction now. It seems she was going to turn it in a little later because she thought the owner might be walking around the store because the phone kept ringing. Bless John! He was shocked when I called him back, just as he was about to dive into a trash can to see if it had been pillaged, then discarded.
It makes me so happy to know that there are still honest people out there. Because there are dumb people like me who need them. I’m grateful for each and every one. In the car, before we left the parking lot I grabbed John’s hand and said, “Wait! We forgot something.” He looked panicked again. I looked to the Heavens. “Thank you God!” He smiled and said, “You got your purse?” Best swim I ever had. Bing! Heartprint!