The Bright Orange Purse and Winners

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

Some of you who hang out with me on Facebook know that Monday my purse was stolen – with my checkbook in it. With my phone in it. With my credit cards in it.

You see it was like this. I was taking Mom home for a home visit to see what might need to be done there before taking her home from the nursing facility. The physical therapist followed us up to Mom’s house in her car. So I was rushing to get Mom’s walker from the house. Grabbed my keys and went to unlock the door and then get the wheelchair out of the back of the car. Turned my brain off and forgot to grab my purse and/or lock the car. I always lock my car. Well, I guess not always. But almost always. In fact, they say I forgot to shut my car door. That’s really bad.  

This one time when I was too distracted to do anything right, somebody was watching. It was, as they say, broad daylight. The car was pulled up next to the house in the driveway. But the pocketbook was bright orange and too big a temptation. I almost invited him to steal it by my absent-mindedness. That doesn’t mean he should have taken it. In a perfect world, he would have hollered at me and told me I forgot to shut my door. But the world is far from perfect. 

We got Mom in the house. Looked through the rooms to see if there were any hazards or problems to be corrected to make sure she could move around safely. Talked about 30 minutes and then headed back to the nursing home. I couldn’t find my purse. Well, since I know I’m distracted and absent-minded, I think I must have taken it in the house. I go back and search through the house. It’s not there. It’s a bright orange flowered purse. It can’t hide. I go ahead and take Mom back to the nursing home because I know the therapist is waiting to help her inside. Look at the nursing home. Know it’s not there, but look anyway. Then I head back to Mom’s to look through her house again. Search through my car. Look in the trunk three times. The purse is bright orange. I don’t know why I think I wouldn’t see it the first time, but it’s hard to think about it being stolen. But finally, I decide there’s no other options and I call the police. 

A very nice young officer shows up to help me. He looks at me, sees I’m not as young as I used to be, and with kindness, says, “Are you sure you just didn’t misplace it? A person would have to be awfully brazen to steal your purse from your car in your driveway in bright daylight.” I tell him I certainly hope he’s right and he’s welcome to search the premises and my car. He looks around. Even goes out in the garage though I wasn’t in the garage at all. He looks through my car. The trunk is examined yet one more time. No orange purse. He calls the nursing home and gets someone to go look in Mom’s room there. No orange purse. Then the neighbor, seeing the police car, comes over and says he takes video of his property and maybe he caught something on his security camera. He winds it back to about the time I think we got to Mom’s and two frames later, there’s a guy running across his driveway carrying a bright orange purse. 

The nice young policeman now believes I’m not mistaken about my purse being stolen, just scatterbrained for not locking my car. He calls for back-up and goes to investigate, saying the thief won’t run long carrying a bright orange purse. I have hopes he’ll nab the guy right away and I’ll get my purse and phone back. No such luck. I cancel my credit cards, stop payment on the checks in my checkbook. The next day I go get a new driver’s license and a new phone. I try not to think about how much information about me is in that bright orange pocketbook, but I feel like somebody is watching from the shadows. 

I pack up Mom and bring her home from the nursing home. All the aides and nurses sympathize with me about the stolen purse. My Facebook friends hug me long distance and tell me about times they’ve experienced something the same. Mom does well at home most of the day. Then the neighbor shows up and says a young man has come to his door saying an acquaintance told him he stole a purse from an “old 81 year old woman on a walker.” This guy says that’s just not right and so he tells the neighbor who did it but wants to keep his name quiet. The neighbor calls the police, and at about five o’clock the nice policeman shows up at the door carrying A BRIGHT ORANGE POCKETBOOK with my phone still in it. With everything still in it except the cash. That was a cheap price to pay for my carelessness. The thief was arrested and I had to go to the police department to claim my purse. The nice young policeman told me that I should always take my purse in the house with me or at least close my car doors.He was very polite as he should be to old, absent-minded ladies, but even if he hadn’t been, I would have still been smiling at him because he was handing over to me that orange purse. (A side note – I saw a state policeman in Radio Shack when I was returning my new phone. He said Cracker Barrel was a favorite place for thieves. They would watch people
coming and if the lady didn’t get out with her purse, they’d wait till
they went inside, then smash the window and take off with the purse.) Now all my FB friends are smiling with me and being as amazed as I am that I got my purse back and my phone too. I was feeling like I’d won the day.

And since we’re talking about winning, I picked the winners for my Celebration Giveaway for The Gifted. Drum roll please!Joanne from Maine won 1st prize, the Shaker music box. Gary from Florida won 2nd prize, the basket and a copy of The Believer, and Judi from Indiana won the pottery pitcher. Plus I gave a bonus prize of a copy of The Gifted to Valerie of Maryland. She was the very first entry in the contest. Being first should count for something sometimes besides in the Olympics. Thank you all for taking part in my celebration fun. We’ll do it again – well, maybe just book prizes then – for my birthday in September. The winner of the Fresh Fiction contest has been picked too, but I don’t have his or her name yet.

Oh, and if you didn’t win this time, you might win next time. I’ve got a guest post “What’s in a name?” on Romance Junkies with a chance to win a copy of The Gifted if you leave a comment on that post. 
As always, thanks for reading.