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August 29, 2013

I aimed my remote and clicked the unlock button as I left the fitness center and walked toward my car.

Nothing happened. Maybe I was too far away. I moved closer and tried again. Still nothing. The lights didn’t flash; the locks didn’t unlock.

Another ‘regular’ at the center owned a car identical to mine. This car must be hers, I thought.

Jim, my husband, had a physical therapy appointment at the same facility and must have finished and decided to run an errand while he waited for me, I thought. He should be back in a few minutes.

I lugged my swim bag over to the picnic table, a round concrete affair with curved concrete benches, and settled in, getting as comfortable as humanly possible while sitting on unforgiving concrete in the blazing sun.

Jim’s cell was turned off. I tried it twice.

I longed for my book to pass the time. But it was in the car. Might as well have left it home for all the good it did me.

Facing the parking lot, I searched for something interesting to watch but came up empty…there were no pedestrians. No dogs or cats…not even a bird. No interesting shrubbery.

I hefted my bulky backpack onto my shoulder and lumbered around to the front of the building in search of my wayward husband and vehicle.

Not there either. Where could he be?

I decided to stroll through the back lot. I took the long way around to kill a little time…it beat sitting around doing nothing.

I glanced at the white Prius…man, that looked like my car, I thought again. I decided to have a closer look. My remote still didn’t work. And this car had a couple of figurines on the dash. Mine did not. Jim and I both thought dashboard ornaments were dangerous…at the very least they obstructed visibility. Worst case scenario: they could cause an injury in the event of a collision. Nope…you would not find dash ornaments, or anything else that could fly around and hurt us if we had an accident in our vehicles. No way!

We had a close call several years ago…

My son was a new driver. He was taking my car to visit a friend on his first solo trip. I came home after working a night shift and handed him the keys, then went upstairs and crawled into bed.

I awoke to persistent pounding on my bedroom door.

‘Mom…MOM! Wake UP!’ Brenden called.

Thinking I was dreaming, I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.

The racket got louder. Much more intrusive, making sleep impossible. I quickly developed an attitude.

‘WHAT. DO. YOU. WANT??!!!’

‘I rolled the car,’ He said.

I jumped out of bed and yanked the door open…’WHAT??? Are you okay?’ I shrieked.

‘Yeah, I think so, but the car is pretty bad.’ He said, visibly shaken.

After hastily throwing on my clothes and checking the teen for obvious injury, we hopped in the truck and drove to the site of his rollover, about a mile down the road.

Our highway was in bad shape. I’d written to my state politicians as well as the county about my concerns. The road was riddled with potholes, but that wasn’t the worst of it. It was a very narrow road with nearly non-existent unpaved shoulders that sat a few inches lower than the paved surface. The county responded with a letter that said our road was in the bottom five percent of all the roads in the county and was scheduled for repairs in two years’ time.

It had rained for three solid days prior to Brenden’s accident, and the shoulders were unusually soft. His right front tire dropped off the edge of the tar and he didn’t have the experience to correct his mistake. The car was pulled into the steep ditch, rolling as it went.

A friend lived across the highway from the site of the mishap. I pulled into her driveway.

We crossed to the opposite side. My little car was resting on its roof on a bed of poplar saplings facing backward…toward home. It had rolled and done a one-eighty.

Lori let us use her phone to call a wrecker.

Harold stopped in…he owned the land on which my car now resided.

After hearing the events, he held up a boat anchor, saying ‘He is one lucky kid…this was in the car.’

The windows were smashed out and the car was totaled.

Our church recently had a fund raiser. We decided to donate that anchor, then changed our mind and put it back in the car and we both had forgotten it there.

Obviously, boat anchors can inflict much more damage than a dash ornament…we know that. We’ve decided to err on the side of safety and keep loose objects out of our vehicles for the most part.

As I walked past the side of the white Prius, I noticed something green in the back side window. I keep a small green stuffed caterpillar in my back window…I looked closer.

This WAS my car after all! My jacket was in the back seat!

Why wasn’t the remote working?

I tried the driver’s door. It was unlocked. Still, I thought, the lights should have blinked when I pressed the button…and what were those ornaments?

I sat behind the wheel and looked closer…they were a set of salt and pepper shakers. Dogs dressed as chefs. Jim must have bought them for my collection. What a nice gesture!

I soon discovered why my remote didn’t work…Jim left his key fob in the ignition!

I felt SILLY! Taking that much time and energy to find my own car! Maybe there was something to all those blonde jokes after all… No wait…Jim has dark brown hair, so that can’ be the case!

He soon climbed into the car and asked how I liked my gift.

‘I love them…thank you!’ Then I handed him his keys and told him my story.


On the way out of town, we stopped at my favorite coffee house. I went in to buy a cocoa for him and Highlander Grogg for myself.

The dark-haired barista took my order and whisked herself off to make the drinks.

‘Here you go,’ she said, ‘Thank you.’ She turned to the next customer.

‘Would you like me to pay for these?’ I asked.

‘Oh…thank you!’ She said, blushing furiously.

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