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Searching and Hoping

“Well,” I said to Husband, “at least I got column fodder out of our lost stuff.”  We shook our heads and laughed at ourselves.           

It’s just a clipboard, an aqua-colored clipboard that I’ve carried to grocery stores for at least 30 years.  I’m old school and I write shopping lists on paper – 8½” x 11” paper that could be trashed.  When I taught school, it was usually a piece of notebook paper that might have had a student’s first draft of writing.  Now, it’s most often the back of a document I didn’t print correctly or a junk mailing.

            But I digress, it’s the clipboard that’s important.  When not used, its place is in the kitchen drawer under the oven with baking pans, but one day it wasn’t there. Remembering that I’d use it a few days earlier, I searched my van, even the third row back seat thinking one of my Grands probably moved it out the way. 

            “Maybe you left it in the grocery cart,” Husband said so I called the grocery store and was happy to know that they often find and always keep items left in carts.  I listened to pleasant instrumental music while the store employee searched Lost and Found and I thought of what was on my clipboard besides blank pages:  an inspirational writing by Rick Bragg, a keepsake drawing by one of my Grands, a list of heart-healthy foods.  

            “I’m sorry.  I didn’t find a clipboard.”  That wasn’t what I wanted to hear.  My next stop that shopping day was at the Dollar General Store so I called and a pleasant, cheerful sounding employee searched Lost and Found, but didn’t find a clipboard. 

            Two days later, I searched that drawer again.  I took out everything and at the bottom of the drawer, under three cookie sheets and two pizza pans, I found that old, much used clipboard.

            While on a weekend trip to watch our oldest Grand play basketball, Husband couldn’t find his favorite black cap and I was sure I’d packed it in the corner of our suitcase.  Two Grands thought he’d worn it to Chick-fil-A the night before so on the way to the next game, we stopped there. The employees searched in all the places they put lost items, but didn’t find it. 

            Back at the Hampton Inn, we went through all the drawers, although both of us were certain we hadn’t put anything in them.  We searched our stack of dirty clothes on the top closet shelf.  Thinking he might have worn it to breakfast and left it at a table or in a chair, we asked the hotel clerk if anyone had turned in a black cap.  No one had.

            When we began packing to come home, Husband found his cap.  Tucked tightly in the corner of the black-lined suitcase – right where I put it and where neither of us saw black against black.

            That’s how we sometimes spend our days.  Searching and hoping.