Thursday morning started entirely too soon. On Wednesday night, we had gathered at our country church to clean. There were helping hands and willing hearts and we moved a BUNCH of dirt. We’ve been in the process of remodeling and painting, moving church benches around, getting rid of a large number of benches (does anybody want some, cheap?) and the basement really needed attention. When this illustrious event happened to fall on the fourteenth of August, the wife of Certain Man thought it well pleasing to celebrate Certain Man’s 60th birthday. (What with it actually being the exact day.) So there were people called, a cake arranged for, and other refreshments planned and when the work was mostly done, friends helped to celebrate.
But the hour got late, and CMW needed to stop by the store on the way home to buy some sausage. Certain Man’s office had planned a breakfast and he had promised to bring sausage gravy. By the time CMW got to bed that night it was quite late, indeed. And then, come morning, it was “up and at’m” pretty early so that the gravy could be finished before Certain Man left for work at seven.
Everything got accomplished in fairly good timing. Cecilia and Nettie got on their buses, and CMW was getting on with her day, when she remembered something important. Nettie’s wallet.
CMW carries two wallets in her pocketbook that belong to the individuals who make their home at Shady Acres. Cecilia’s is white. Nettie’s is an electric purple. They are the modern hard cased, hard to open things that contain the many cards and identification items that CMW needs for them from time to time. They are probably the most important item in the lives of these two ladies because it holds their access to health care, savings accounts and family information. CMW never treats them lightly.
However, on Tuesday night while CMW was taking friend Torre for some items for school, she had stopped at the bank to withdraw some much needed funds for Nettie just before taking Torre home. CMW had enjoyed a great time with Torre, and the buys they had found were beyond good (actually, incredible!) but the hour was quite late. CMW told stories about ATM’s and people coming out of the bushes when Certain Man was depositing the church’s offerings, and there was much exclaiming and shivering while CMW searched frantically through her purse, trying to find Nettie’s wallet. She finally discovered that it had slipped through a rip that was behind a zippered compartment in her purse and was floating around in the darkness beneath the lining. Once she found it, there was a hasty withdrawal, and a stuffing of receipt and money into the wallet, and the two gals headed home. It was 10:15 until Torre was home and her mom talked to and then CMW headed home.
Some time during the day on Wednesday, while CMW was out and about with her Sweet Mama, she realized that Nettie’s wallet was missing again.
“It probably slid down through that rip again,” thought CMW. “I really need to do something about fixing that.” And she put it towards the back of her mind. But then she would think about it and wonder if it really was there. She made a few perfunctory passes through the purse and didn’t see it, but her purse is notoriously unorganized and so she thought she just must be missing it somehow. She finally decided that she really needed to look for it in earnest. That would have been Thursday morning. In her (ahem!) spare time.
The thing was, it was the last day for Youngest Daughter to have the three kids that have been part of her summer job. They were heading out for some fun things to do. CMW was hoping to take her rental van home that morning because she was sick of it. Well, actually, sick of paying for it and homesick for her own van that was to be finished by Friday. There were deposits that needed to go to two different banks and several canning and household chores clamoring for attention. And the man at Enterprise said the van needed to be back by 11 o’clock to avoid being charged for another day.
But then she remembered that she hadn’t found Nettie’s wallet yet and it just might (probably was!) somewhere in that van. She had to find that wallet before she took the van back. So she first dumped all the contents of her purse out on the counter and methodically went through them. This was an exercise in futility. There was no bright purple wallet. Not even slipped down under the lining. Then she went out and went through the van. She carefully looked and looked. Nothing.
She came back into the house and spoke sad words with Youngest Daughter.
“Boy, Mom,” said Youngest Daughter sympathetically, “you’ve not been having the best of times with your ladies the last few weeks, have you?”
CMW murmured assent, but thought ruefully that she hadn’t been having the best of times with a number of integral parts of her life the last few weeks. And grumbling didn’t help. She went back out to the van and looked again, including places that just weren’t likely. Then she came in and called Sweet Mama.
“Mama, is there any chance that I inadvertently dropped Nettie’s wallet into your pocket book yesterday when we were in Lewes? ” she asked hopefully.
“I don’t know,” said Sweet Mama, “let me look.” She returned to the phone with another negative answer.
“Do you remember seeing it?”
“No. Not at all,” replied Sweet Mama. “It is something I think I would have noticed because it is so unusual. I don’t recall seeing it all day.”
CMW returned to the van and looked some more. The situation was looking more and more hopeless to her. How in the world would she ever recreate all the information that was in there? And since the medication error of a few weeks ago, she has tried really, really hard not to draw any attention to herself in any way whatsoever when it came to her ladies and the State of Delaware. There was over a hundred dollars in there, too, as well as two very important receipts. She had been murmuring some desperate prayers as she muddled about, but it was time for some serious praying. So pray, she did!
The one thing that kept nagging at the back of her mind was whether it had maybe fallen out on the back alley at Torre’s house. She knew that Torre would never have taken it, but since she hadn’t seen it since that night, she began to wonder if she may have dropped it somehow when she and Torre were unloading the car. However, the last thing she wanted Torre to think was that she was suspecting her. The dilemma about whether or not to call Torre waged for quite a while, but as the morning passed, she decided that she should at least check and see.
“No,” said a surprised Torre, “I didn’t see anything out there on the drive at all.” I wasn’t surprised. That alley is a pretty busy place and if a brilliant purple wallet had been lying there, it would have been eye catching. CMW began to resign herself to the fact that it was gone for good.
Unknown to her, Youngest Daughter was busily entreating Heaven on behalf of her troubled mama. CMW noticed that she was unusually busy around the kitchen and unusually quiet, but was too besot with her own troubles to wonder.
And then CMW decided to look through the van one more time. It seemed futile, because she had opened every compartment, looked under every seat, opened every door and snooped through places she didn’t even know were there. She had cleaned out all the trash in preparation for returning the rented vehicle, and collected all the things that had accumulated over the course of the nine days that the family had the vehicle. There really was no where else to look, but an almost compelling force drew her back out. Discouraged, she opened the door, and there, right on the passenger seat lay the familiar purple wallet.
To say that there was great astonishment would be an understatement. To say that there was great rejoicing would also be an understatement.
Dancing on a garage floor,
Hands raised to my Father.
Tears of relief.
Giddy with grateful joy.
Mystery of mysteries.
How could this be so?
I do not know why
The God of the Universe
Concerns Himself with me —
Careless, unobservant, and human.
I don’t know why.
But this I know.
A miracle came today
Out of the blue
In the color of purple.
And my heart gives Grateful Praise.