It started out a lovely day…
It was a lovely day in Valley Forge National Park this past Sunday. My friend Kim and I strolled about with her two young kids. The sun was warm, the trees were green and tall grass was dancing in the wind. The kids reveled how close they were to the wild deer. We skipped and ran and frolicked. By all counts, it was the perfect day. It was like being inside a Disney move except Mickey Mouse was nowhere to be found (thank God for that – mice suck).
As I pulled out my camera to take a picture of the kids in front of a reconstructed wood cabin the Revolutionary soldiers used during the encampment, I realized my keys were lost. G-O-N-E!
At first I started saying “Oh my God, oh, no – oh no” followed by a good old fashioned “Aw, shit” and another series of “Oh no’s”. I don’t think I dropped the F-bomb. I believe I was still aware kiddies were in ear shot.
I went from calm and bubbly to panicked and disoriented in about 15 seconds flat.
Thank goodess for my support system…
With the help of my friend Kim and later, my friend Chris, we scoured the area, re-traced my steps and tried to imagine where in the world my keys ended up. Short version: we never found them.
As the sun was setting over the park, Chris and I looked in the grass for my keys and we talked about the men who lost their lives at Valley Forge. I thought about how horribly they suffered in the bitter cold. I thought about them, their pain, the bloodshed, the separation from their families and the sacrifices they made. Thinking about them made my lost key problem seem like a blessing. I had a way home. Chris had a spare key to the truck. I was warm, safe and headed back to Wilmington to eat pizza and beer. By all counts, I was, and am, the luckiest person alive!
Perspective, me thinks, is everything.
The loss of my keys, although inconvenient, was not the loss of blood or life. It was no big deal. Aside from learning a valuable lesson about not putting my keys in the pouch of my dog leash bag (it has a zipper folks, I’ve never lost keys like this before) I was shown an example of the inherent goodness in people, especially my friends.
Chris was en route his father’s birthday party and planned an evening of watching football, drinking beer, eating cake and hanging with his family. None of that ever happened. He hopped on his motorcycle and drove about an hour from Delaware to Valley Forge to rescue me and Rosie from our keyless quandary.
And Kim, well she was a gem incarnate! Aside from helping me look for keys, she offered a lot of support while I was panicked and she drove me and Rosie to Burger King where she bought Rosie a chicken sandwich. Rosie loved it! I brought dinner for Rose but it was locked up tight in the truck. I didn’t eat. I was too pissed ay myself for losing my keys and inconveniencing my friends. Kim gave me $20 cash and dropped me off in the parking lot of a restaurant where Chris planned to meet me. She didn’t want to leave me there to wait alone but I insisted Rosie and I would be fine and she should take her kids home.
The day of the lost keys reminded me about the importance of being grateful. I don’t have a problem being grateful or giving thanks but this incident underscored the importance of having good friends, a support system and the knowledge that things are never as bad as they seem.
Thank you, Kim. Thank you, Chris. Thank you to the strangers in the park that wished me luck and to the park ranger who told me about the lost and found.
And yo, if you find a set of car keys in Valley Forge National Park, please return them to a park ranger or the welcome center, will ya?
Peace and giggles!