This Side Up

We can all use a roll-around reminder


There’s something good to be said for losing things.

Of course, it doesn’t seem that way at the time, especially if it’s the car keys and you’re standing outside a locked car in the middle of the mall parking lot and it’s snowing. Worse yet is arriving at customs and not being able to find your passport or another form of identification. With such a mishap you have not only lost your identity but been caught in a purgatory unable to either return from where you came or cross to where you want to be.

Fortunately, I found the keys and the passport. Everything worked out.

But that wasn’t the case this weekend when I mounded a search for a special pair of mittens called pogies. These are not the pogies that sport fishermen use as bait for stripers. Rather, they are L-shaped mittens with a hole at either end that allow you to grip an oar without your hands freezing.

Naturally, they’re not the sort of clothing needed during the summer, so like other winter wear they went into some storage box last May, or did they? I made it my mission to find them Sunday.

Carol had already conducted a search of the usual spots to no avail and was prepared to go online and order another pair. Such an admission of defeat made me all the more adamant that they could be found. It was a challenge. They had to be in some spot that would become logical once I found it. In fact, it was that assumption that guided my initial search.

It went something like this: pogies are a boating thing, so I looked where we stow the life jackets. Or, since they are a form of glove, wouldn’t they be with all the gloves, or because they are kept near the kitchen back door might they have ended up in one of the cabinets?

Were it logical, I would have found them. Of course, that implies I’d thought of all the logical places they could be. Quite obviously, I hadn’t, so then maybe it’s logical after all. The only thing such reasoning is capable of producing frustration and an increased commitment to the search.

But, as I started off saying, there’s something to be said for losing something and the frustration that accompanies it.

In my case it was finding things I’d forgotten we had. The target of my search was the coat closet that has become the depository for just about everything we dare not jettison in the belief that it will serve a purpose some day. Among the first things to emerge was a tin of popcorn with its cap still sealed. I don’t recall who gave it to us or how long ago. Hum, I thought, it was time for a popcorn break.

I ran my fingernail along the tape and pried off the cover to find three segmented compartments. One was filled with plain popcorn while the others contained cheese and caramel corn. It all looked good, but that was it. I might have been chewing cardboard.

The popcorn went in the trash along with worn sneakers with soles so hard that they cracked and scores of tennis balls that are without a second life now that Binky is no longer with us.

Then I uncovered a mother lode of softballs. There were easily 25 florescent-yellow softballs. They have a Binky connection, although we never threw them for him to retrieve. Carol used to walk him in the woods around Clegg Field and often returned with the balls that evidently players were too rushed or too lazy to hunt down. For a long time they rolled around the car trunk, rattling when we turned. The plan was always to bring them to the Parks & Recreation Department and return them to play. But we never thought of it when the department was open. So they took up residence in the coat closet. I loaded all the balls into a canvas bag, which we also seem to have plenty of.

My pogie search continued. More junk destined for the trash emerged. I felt relief with every decision to throw something out. This was therapeutic. Carol got into the swing and filled a box with scarves and hats for the Salvation Army. My search was proving fruitful, although the pogies still elude me.

The softballs went into the car, a gift for Mickey Rooney at Parks and Rec. He’ll even get to keep the canvas bag. And just to be certain he gets them, I left one ball out to roll around the trunk as a reminder.

Now if I could only apply such logic all the time.


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