Did you rake leaves last weekend? Clean gutters? Pick up branches felled by Hurricane Sandy? Sweep out the garage? Realize you need 25 more bags?

Yup. I'm sore. But the yard looks wonderful and the roof is swept clean for winter (I hope).

It was Sunday afternoon and if I could just push through a little more, my outside job list would be complete. Nothing like a list to keep you going!  In the midst of all this activity, I decided to take a break and sew up some vinyl to make a cover for the air conditioning unit... just so I could sit down for a bit.

I decided to slip up to Zehrs for more leaf bags... I figured 25 more should do it. And because we'd been together in the back yard virtually all weekend, I decided to take Darla the dog. Now, Darla isn't the best behaved dog in the world but we love her. Because the back of the station wagon is crammed with stuff to drop off various places (when you're cleaning up, you're cleaning up!) I put her in the back seat. Usually I have to tie her in because she jumps to the front seat and creates chaos. But I didn't tie her this time.

Up we go to Zehrs and I run in to get the bags and three grocery items. I slip my wallet onto the front of the grocery cart where the little plastic seating plates are (well, what would you call those? I have no idea.  Little plastic seating plates sounds fine to me.) I pay at checkout 7 and have a little chat about leaves with the cashier.

I zoom out like a woman on a mission and put the newly purchased leaf bags (and a couple of empty cardboard boxes) into the car. And Darla hasn't moved! She's been such a good girl! I praise her like crazy, giving her a ruffly behind her ears. Attention diverted from bags to dog, I push my cart in with the others under the rooflet and head home.

Bags piled in the back yard, it isn't until I'm putting away the almond milk that I wonder where my wallet is. Back out to the car to check. Back in to the grocery bag to check. Look through the leaf bags to see if it got wedged there. Nope. And then that anxiety that catches in your throat when you think you've done something wrong. Wrong? Well, at least, stupid.

Back to Zehrs. (yes, Darla came too--we're in this together). Nice young man in charge of carts helps me look in the rooflet area, and then in the cart area at the front of the store. Nothing. I check customer service. Nothing. I re-visit checkout 7 and the cashier hasn't seen anything. And I'm leaving the country tomorrow to speak at Terry and Ian Coles' business networking cruise and would like to have some i.d. and a credit card.

My heart sinks. My wallet is really gone.

I go home and begin raking again. Positive by nature, I maintained hope that I'd hear from someone and took the cordless phone out to the back yard. Hours went by. I came in to check messages around supper time and there was this little voice.

"Hi. My name is Jan Rocco. I found your wallet at Zehrs this morning. I'm really sorry, but I couldn't find your phone number in the phone book so I had to open your wallet to get your business card. And now I'm calling to let you know I have it. My phone number is..."

I could have hugged her right through the phone lines! Of course I called back, arranged to go to her house, and put together a gift basket of things to say thanks. We had a great visit, playing with her two goldens and sharing the similarities of our lives. What a wonderful end to the day. It made losing the wallet totally worthwhile, to meet this retired pharmacy technician with a shared attitude to life.

Isn't the world a wonderful place? Thank you, Jan!

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