Friday, August 26, 2005

Minor Miracle

My father loved to do macramé. He would lounge on the couch with his latest project, working on it while watching T.V. He had a couple of big projects that will forever remain unfinished unless one of us gets inspired to complete them. But he did make me a lanyard for my pocket knife.

Actually, he made two. The first one was destroyed by two Cub Scouts. So he made me another, which is on the knife now. And he made it long enough so that I could use my knife while it was still clipped on my belt loop—very important when you work around boats!

This knife is part of my essential outdoor gear, along with a compass, a whistle with a Cheshire Cat charm, and a bandanna. Since I am a creature of habit, I keep those particular items together, usually in the top drawer of my dresser or in the backpack or belt pack I use when I’m at camp. So when the knife and the whistle went missing, I was a bit mystified.

Usually when I misplace something, especially something highly sentimental in value, I am a crazed person, tearing apart drawers and backpacks and belt packs where I know the missing item has to be. The knife itself and the whistle could be easily replaced. Losing the lanyard was the tough one to deal with (the lanyard is permanently attached to the knife). I went to Day Camp without them. I went to Camporee. I felt—naked. I kept looking, in the same places, in different places. They were not to be found. And I came to accept that maybe the knife and lanyard were gone. I remembered the lanyard and knew that Dad had made it just for me and that was enough. I mourned its loss, but did not obsess about it—which is most unusual for me.

My grandmother, a Christian Scientist, had a strong belief in the power of St. Jude, Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes. The other day, when talk of Girl Scouts and camping brought thoughts of my knife to my mind, I tossed off a quick prayer to St. Jude. And to St. Anthony, Finder of Lost Items, just to be complete. The prayers were nothing formal, just “It would be really nice if I could find my knife” kind of thing. And then I went on with my life.

Last night, DD#2 brought home her book report list. She is trying to be more organized this year and was collecting books in the different categories so she would be ready. She had four of them and was looking for three more.

“Bring me the Library Bag that’s hanging on the closet door downstairs,” I asked. I had stashed some books that DS#2 had read last year in there.

She brought me the bag and we dumped it out. “This one will work for science fiction. Or this one for the Newbery Medal,” I said.
“Read that one last year,” she answered. “This one looks pretty good, though. What else is in there?”

There was a second, smaller bag inside the first. I pulled out a couple of more books and then…

“What’s this?” I pulled out what looked like a mass of string. “Oh my God! It’s my knife!”

Not just my knife, but my whistle and a couple of compasses.

“Cool!” DD#2 said. She knew I’d been looking for them because I had mentioned it when she packed for Girl Scout camp this summer.

Hubs looked over. “Were they missing?” (See how much of a fuss I hadn’t made?)

The blue belt pack where those items were supposed to be was also in the bag. I must have been in a hurry, or wanted to use the belt pack for some other event, and just dumped it in the larger book bag. In 18 months, I had never thought to go through it or the smaller bag. In fact, I had just dropped DS#2’s books in the smaller bag without looking inside.

In heaven, my dad is standing next to St. Jude, nudging him and sharing a laugh at my expense.