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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



I hate losing things. The mere act of misplacing something tends to amplify the fact that I am getting older and have too many things going on in my brain at one time. I’ve misplaced the usual car keys, lost my blue tooth ear phone and even have looked aimlessly for the better part of a day for my television remote in the couch cushions. It is embarrassing, frustrating and leads me to fear leaving the house to go get a gallon of milk in case I would forget where I live and end up driving aimlessly around the country until they found me sitting in some Waffle house with two hobos while our waitress Bobbi Jo stares at us across the counter wishing we would leave.

For years I’ve prided myself by being able to know exactly where the smallest piece of paper was in the four large piles that cover my desk. If you need the phone number of the FFA President at Creston in 1987 I can lay my hands on it in a matter of minutes. Want to see a map of ghost towns in Dallas County give me about a half an hour and if you require me to show you my high school diploma by the middle of the evening I can have it located. Yes, my “filing system” needs a few tweaks but it has been a solid rock bastion of knowledge for most of my adult life.

Unfortunately it has been all downhill from there. It all started a month ago on a business trip to Kansas City. I had been at P.F. Changs with a group of officers when I paid for my meal with my debit card. Sometime between that noon meal and my return back to Iowa that evening I lost that card somewhere along the way. There is really nothing as scary as stopping for gas only to realize that your card is floating around in a strange city with nothing between it and some low-life using it online to purchase four thousand copies of Justin Biebers latest CD. One quick call to my banks 24 hour service line later, my card was cancelled and I was forced to subsist on…gasp…using cash until the new one arrived.

I thought that it was an isolated incident until this past weekend. As a Dad one of my duties is to try to attend the sporting events my children take part in. Unfortunately, I don’t get to all of them so when the opportunity presented itself to see the forgotten middle child play basketball on Saturday I jumped at the chance and headed to the Dallas Center-Grimes High School. I sat through her entire game and most of the next one, pulling my wallet out once to look to see how much cash I had on hand as I kept watching people walk by with nachos and my stomach had been growling for the better part of an hour. Upon leaving, I wished her goodbye and hopped in the truck to head home, intending to stop in Waukee and grab a bite to eat.

Instead of stopping I headed back to Stuart to the hardware store where I discovered I didn’t have my wallet in my pocket. Panic set in at that moment and I drove home and emptied the truck of everything in the cab and searched every nook and cranny to find no wallet. I was baffled at this point and called Paige’s mother to ask if they were still in the area and could run back by the school to see if anyone had turned a wallet in. They agreed and as I went through the truck again with no luck my phone rang and they said they had no luck. Paige had gone inside to ask at the admission desk while Diana drove around the parking lot looking to see if it had fallen out of my pocked anywhere.

I stewed about it for a few minutes before calling Diana back, who at this point was almost back in Adel and she and I agreed after a short conversation to drive back up there to see if it really wasn’t there. I didn’t care about the money in my wallet and it wasn’t really even my ATM card that made me upset, but knowing my drivers license and medical card were in it made me shiver at the thought of having to spend hours trying to replace those. We searched the parking lot, looked in a few trash cans and finally went inside. While I went to find the janitor, Diana headed down to the gym where there was another game going on. Somewhere between my walk to the gym, Diana, who found the athletic director, had gone to the scoring table where my wallet sat, turned in by some angel from ADM.

Maybe I am getting a little forgetful as I age, and perhaps I need to rethink when and where I get hungry for nachos, but in this Christmas season the more important lesson for me here was that there are still good people in this world and that I am indeed fortunate to live in Iowa, where honest people turn in a lost item without thinking twice. Merry Christmas everyone. See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.