Stupidity has its own rewards

“Could-a. Should-a. Would-a.” The mantra of someone who just screwed-up. My mantra over the weekend.

I could have worn a pair of hiking shorts with deeper pockets. I should have left the other keys attached to the car fob so they were more noticeable. I would have left the car key in the condo if I had known I wouldn’t need it for the night. I did none of those; instead I lost the fob somewhere during last Saturday night as we worked our way around dinner and visiting several breweries with two of my kids and their significant others.

Oh! And did I tell you that I did all of this at Wintergreen Resort, four hours up Interstate 81 from home.

So, here we were Sunday morning tearing the place apart…the condo…Danny’s car (which we drove)…my car (Oops! No. We can’t look there because it’s locked and…we don’t have the key). No luck.

“Not again!” Every time Barb goes on vacation with her daughter I lose something. At least it’s not as bad as last time when I “lost” the dogs. That thought also gives me hope; last time it turned out OK in the end.

We split up and backtrack through our Saturday night haunts. I was sure they would be at our first site. We had sat back in comfy lounge chairs and watched Clemson beat Texas A&M. That was the second defeat of the day after Army lost in double over-time to #7 Michigan (Eat your heart out Tennessee). Anyway, no luck there.

My other son, Colton, searched our second stop. Again, we had sat in overstuffed chairs to finish off the football viewing. No luck there either. They took off for home while poor Danny had to chauffeur me around.

In one final vain attempt, we stopped by the last and largest location to see if by some miracle it had been found there. I asked the hostess if they had found any keys the night before. She said someone had just turned one in. “I think it’s a Subaru key.” Salvation! “I love you,” I said, and really meant it. She came back with the one for an older model attached to about two pounds of other keys. Crestfallen, I give up the quest and we head back to the condo.

With a weary heart, I call my stepson, Ty and ask if he would be willing to drive by the house and pick up my spare key (then make an eight-hour round trip) and bring it to me. Without a moment’s hesitation he said yes and took off to get the key.

I await the Subaru Roadside Assistance to unlock (but unfortunately not start) my car. I learned a neat trick about how “professionals” open modern cars: a balloon-pretty low tech. He got the doors open (with much howling of the car horn). By the way, that lasts for exactly 30 seconds, then it just fades into flashing lights. Actually, I discovered that you can get it all to stop if you close all the doors. Unfortunately, the ear-piercing process starts anew if you open on again. I am pretty sure my neighbors hated my guts by the time this ordeal was through.

In late afternoon, Ty showed up. He was stiff, but in remarkably good spirits. With a cold bottle of water to rejuvenate him, he decides to stop off and take a hike on the way back. Oh, to be young and full of vigor.

It was a beautiful day and the route off the mountain was remarkable, so much so, I decided to avoid the interstate for a while. What a splendid choice, one I would not have made had life unfolded according to the original plan. Mile after mile of rolling farmland and mountainscapes. I peeled back the sunroof, opened the windows and cranked up the music. The scent of fresh mowed hay. The cool humidity as you swoop over the bridge at a wooded stream. God’s creation is spectacular, even if he likes to remind us that we are human!

As I arrive home, I am thankful that I have a family willing to pitch in. You always suspect that someday the tables will turn. I spent much of my adult life parenting and taking care of the kids. We all know that it will change. At some point the younger generation become the grown-ups.

When Danny had dropped me off, he reminded me of one of my father’s favorite sayings (oft repeated to my own kids). “Hey dad. Remember, stupidity has its own rewards.”

True! I may be slow on the uptake, but even old dogs can learn new tricks (if you beat them hard enough). This morning I attached a GPS tracker to my car fob (Sadly, I’ve had it for months). I tell myself without much conviction, “I’ll be ready next time.”



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