CONCLUSION. Yes, Dear Reader: yes, yes, without further delay:
I'm already here at the following day; in fact, it's the very hot
afternoon of the following day. I've searched the house for those
garage keys; searched the floor of the car; searched my briefcase.
Now I'm driving over to the garage units.
There is my plumber friend, working away at what is now "his"
garage space. The door is raised, open. He greets me, happy to show me
that he's carted away the junk. He's already swept the place clean!
(Of course, he had to sweep around the old electrical box that weighs
I'll bet a ton. How that's to be disposed of without a forklift, I
have no idea.)
"Bad news! You didn't happen to see the keys, did you?" I asked. I told him how I'd found the little wire ring, but no keys. I was searching the grass outside the garage door as we talked.
"Well, I did see something shiny in the dirt as I swept the floor," he said.
"It was small, I didn't bother checking it out. Boy, was there a lot of dirt!"
"Oh, no!" I moaned. "Then I guess it's gone. It could have been one of the keys."
"No," he said. "I put all the dirt in a bag. It's right here! He was already grabbing the big black plastic bag that sat in the corner. He knelt on the floor and opened the bag. "I'll look. It could be here..." He was pawing through the great mound of dust and dirt.
Dust was rising in choking clouds.
"Agggh! Bring that bag outside!" I ordered. "That's awful!"
He dragged the bag out into the sun, and continued to sift through it, pulling out big strands of old insulation. I stepped away, searching the grass. "What do you know, I found one!" he exclaimed. And sure enough, he had one of the keys! "I might be able to find the other one, too," he said. He continued digging, sifting handfuls of the dusty dirt.
"Oh, stop!" I said. "It's not necessary! I can always get copies made. Thank goodness for this one!"
But he was determined, and he kept on with the dirty job.
And then suddenly...
I was astounded, couldn't believe my eyes. "IT'S MY EARRING! THIS IS INCREDIBLE!" (I was still shrieking). The plumber had frozen in action. My voice came down an octave, but I continued to fling exclamations far and wide. "I lost it a long, long time ago! It was more than a year ago! It was one of my favorites...I got the earrings at a museum...WOW...it's just amazing!... and it's glass; it's made of GLASS!!"
The plumber was impressed, and he was happy I'd found my earring; but he was more interested in finding the other key. He went on digging through the dirt. I, however, took my earring to the car. The keys no longer concerned me. No, I was on Cloud Nine! I still had this earring's mate!
Just weeks ago I had cleaned up the messy array of ear jewelry that cluttered my dresser top. I paused when I came to the lone earring that I'd purchased from the gift shop of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I'd only gotten to wear the set for a few months before I lost this one's mate. So long ago! Should I pitch it? I asked myself. Most women would! You're a hopeless pack rat! Throw it out! I preached. Just do it!
I volleyed, and ultimately this argument won out: It's so very small. Better to keep it. Who knows when the style may be mismatched earrings!
But now here it was--my precious prodigal earring!
I took it home and reunited the two.
And I said to my yard man, "All that stomping around, and hauling of things in and out. It is made of glass! And...and...suppose I wouldn't have gone over there to the garage when I did! Had I not lost the keys! Had he not swept the floor! Had he not seen a glint! Had he not still had the bag of dirt! Had he not been willing to dig through it! Had I not insisted he bring it outside into the sun! Had he not persisted in looking for the second key! Had I not been watching at exactly the right moment!!!"
(AHEM, Reader Dear. What say you?
Shriek-worthy or no?!)