Lost and Found

two bracelets, three earrings
two bracelets, three earrings

I suppose there are some people who never lose things.  I am not one of them.  In fact, there are certain things that I lose consistently, so much so that I plan for their loss.  That would be jewelry, and earrings in particular.  Losing things that you really like is heartbreaking, but at the same time it opens the way for some really good stories of recovery.

In my early 20’s I had one boyfriend (and only one) who had really good taste in gifts of all kinds – flowers, adventures, restaurants, and jewelry.  He bought me a pair of yellow gold earrings that were simple but beautifully designed.  I loved everything about them.  I must have lost them at least half a dozen times.  Once they were lost for over a year before I found them under the bed in the guest room at my parent’s house.  The first time I lost them was the most traumatic though.  I had only been married for a few months (but not to the guy with the good taste in jewelry) when the husband and I took a camping trip.  We were tenting for a week in Tennessee at a big reservoir near Oak Ridge.  The campground was super nice with big tent sites and a convenient bathhouse.  And then one day my earring was missing.

Why is it that no one ever tells you that you have only one earring on?  My ears are right out there in plain sight, but I am always the one who suddenly realizes that one is gone.  I ransacked our tent, shook out all the sleeping bags,  went through our suitcases, looked in every crack and crevice of our van. I backtracked to all the places I had walked.  Pretty much went around looking at the ground for at least half a day.  Then on the day we were leaving, I decided to have one last look in the bathhouse.  I found it in a pile of slime and hair over the drain of one of the showers.  Gross.  But did I care? No.  I was just in awe that I even thought of looking there.

One year for Christmas I told my daughters to tell the husband about a set of jewelry that I had admired in a store.  That’s how I have to do it with the husband – but that’s not a bad thing because I always end up with something I like that way. There was a necklace, a really pretty bracelet and earrings, and he got it all for me.  It wasn’t long before I lost the bracelet.  Everybody at work helped me look until we finally gave up.  I was so upset that I went back to the store and bought the bracelet again.  Somehow that helped, It was expensive but it helped.  Then I lost one of the earrings. Back to the store,  but you know they won’t sell you just one earring.  You have to buy a pair.  I decided having three was a good idea for someone like me.  I never knew when I might need a spare.  Months later I found the bracelet.  It had come off during a cooking demonstration when I was getting a pan out of the oven drawer of the range. I still have two bracelets and three earrings.  Good insurance.

I really like silver, but because it tarnishes all the time, I like white gold even better.  One vacation I splurged on a pair of white gold hoops. (Okay, I got them in Walmart, but they were real gold and they weren’t cheap.) These hoops have a clasp that drives me crazy – they come open with very little provocation.  I’ve lost them three times, one time for every year I’ve had them.  The first two times I found them in really crazy places involving strange medical equipment that is hard to describe, so I won’t.  But the last time I again gave up after several days of searching parking lots and offices I had visited.  I bought another pair which I did not like as well.  That was two months ago.

Last week, after my medical check up, I decided to re-take my blood pressure at home because I didn’t like how high it had been.  I have the old fashioned cuff and stethoscope, and there around the tubing of the stethoscope was my earring.  Who knew?  Good thing Walmart has a good return policy.

I told the story to my eldest daughter, who also loses things.  She said “I wish God loved me as much as he loves you…”  Oh yeah, it’s nice.  But I am quite sure he loves us both the same.

Dear John,

Dear John Deere,

I don’t know how it started, but I have an awful lot of your stuff.  I have pictures of your tractor.  I also have a small replica of your tractor that children play with when they visit me.  Actually, I know you have more than one tractor too – I have a book with pictures and stories about ALL your tractors from the first to the last.

I have one of your tablecloths, a miniature gas pump of yours, a toothpick holder with your logo, a set of dishes, some giant soup mugs, numerous metal boxes, a clock, an outdoor thermometer, a rug, a shirt and a couple hats – all in various shades of green and yellow, and with your name on them.  I honestly can’t remember everything in this collection.  It appears that there aren’t many things that you won’t put your name on.

John, you are my link to the past and all that was good about life on the farm.  I remember those days whenever I pour my morning coffee into the John Deere mug and toast the new day.  That’s why I’m sad to tell you that it’s over.

Today there was a crash and an exclamation of anguish from the kitchen where the husband was cleaning up his breakfast.  John, he dropped your mug and it shattered.  It’s gone.  I threw it in the trash.  Please don’t hate me.

Wishing it could have ended differently…  (but after all, it’s just “stuff” and I can find another one in about 30 seconds on the internet)


Tribute to a Barn

For several weeks I have been searching salvage stores, antique shops and other likely looking places for an old window with some character and hopefully glass in all it’s panes.  I have wanted to use it as a frame to showcase pictures of one of my favorite old barns – Grandpa Roy Smith’s barn in Hayward.  I only found a couple windows at one shop, priced over my budget at $50 each and they were missing glass.  But last weekend I went north to visit Julie in Gainesville, wondering whether I might have time to poke around up there.  It is not as much a shopping venue as our beach towns and it is within reach of more rural areas where old houses abound.  On Friday I had time to myself and decided to investigate Alachua. I chose it because I liked it’s name. It’s about 7 miles from Julie’s house – an easy jaunt.  However as I asked around, no one there knew of any places of the kind I was looking for.  My last stop was a small garden/gift shop with Christmas decorations going up in the window.  The owner didn’t know of any salvage stores either, but when I mentioned I was looking for old windows she said she had a couple at home that she would sell – for $15 each!!  I could hardly keep myself from dancing around in front of her.  She agreed to bring them the next day and I promised to return for them.

Julie and I did go back and I ended up buying three wonderful old windows – just the kind I had been praying for.  They have distressed paint in several layers, glazing that’s missing in places and so much character.  I can only imagine the faces that may have peered through them in the past. I chose this one in particular to display my barn pictures in because it has red paint showing through on the frame and a curious paint on the glass. The paint is white on the outside but on the back side of the glass it is a pale greenish gray, and that is the side that I have showing. (Whoever painted the outside last was very messy but I love the way it frames the pictures.)  The wood in my barn pictures has some of the same hues of red and green as the window frame.  They go together so well.

I hung it above my desk. I LOVE looking at my old window and the old family barn that I remember so well