My friend Nadia found herself in a predicament a few weeks ago. She and her husband kayaked to Islesford from Sutton Island, planning to buy some lobsters for dinner. They made an early start, so they arrived well before the fisherman’s co-op opened, and went to the local market to wait. “Suze,” a very congenial woman behind the counter, kept them company and fixed them breakfast, at which point Nadia realized that they did not have enough cash left to buy the lobsters. Credit cards are not accepted.
Without hesitation, Suze handed Nadia $60.
“Just send me a check when you get home,” she said.
The best part of the story is that it isn’t so unusual. I sat around an outdoor table on a recent summer evening with a bunch of Maine women. They began swapping happy-ending stories of lost objects. It is nice to be reminded of the better side of human nature, which is probably more predominant than the news suggests.
Liz, a professional musician, lost her flute on two occasions. Once, ironically, she brought a brand new flute with her into a store for fear that it might be stolen from her car, and she left it behind.
Someone found the flute and made sure it went into the store’s safe.
The second time it was a borrowed flute. Somehow, as Liz gathered her equipment together after a radio performance in southern Maine, she didn’t realize that she had placed the flute on the roof of her car. For several days she racked her brain trying to remember where the flute could be. She drove all the way back down south, “with my head out the window” searching for the flute. Finally, she ran an ad in the paper.
It so happened that a trucker had spotted the small case on the side of the highway. He brought it home and told his father, “Someone is definitely going to be looking for this.” He scanned the papers for a week, until he finally saw Liz’s ad and called her up.
Several women had stories of losing things such as stethoscopes or wallets that were returned with nothing damaged or missing.
Ruth was the finder rather than the seeker in her story. She and her husband found a digital camera on a ski hill at Sugarloaf. It seemed undamaged. To find the owner, they took a look at the camera’s most recent photos, then searched the slopes until they found skiers whose outfits matched the ones in the photos.
Carol’s story spanned the greatest length of time. She bought her son an L.L. Bean ski jacket when he was 6 years old. When he grew out of it, she donated it to Goodwill. Ten years later a woman found the coat on the side of a road 100 miles away. She read the name and phone number written on the tag, and called Carol’s son to return the coat.
For the record, there were stories of generous returns outside of Maine as well. My most appreciated return was a 15-year-old address book, which I had left in Logan Airport at a payphone. My friend Uiko, who has relatives in Japan, told us about people who found cash washed ashore after the tsunami.
They turned the cash in to authorities, hoping it would get back to the people who lost it.
My most unusual lost-and-found story was a valuable item that showed up at my house by itself. I looked outside one day, and there was a sleek racehorse in my back yard. Fortunately, he was wearing a halter. With a handful of hay and a rope, I secured him to a fencepost until I could track down the owner.
For the remainder of summer, may you all enjoy warm summer days, good news, and many happy returns.
Robin Clifford Wood welcomes feedback and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.