COL Lose a purse and life as you knew it stops

Have you ever lost your purse? After checking the car seven times -- including front seat, back seat and trunk -- the realization finally hits you that your purse did not come home with you. A feeling that is indescribable hits: Panic, loss, guilt, stupidity.

So you then make a few phone calls, retrace all your steps, start praying to St. Anthony (patron saint in the "lost and found" department), and hope for a miracle. And through your mind flashes the contents of that purse. Come to think of it, it probably held the story of your life.

By now you have probably guessed who lost her purse recently. But there is a happy ending. Yes, my purse was found and returned to me untouched. I don't really believe in fate, but it is strange how things happen and often there is a reason they do happen.

Less than a week before that awful day, I had been thinking about cleaning it out, which would have included getting rid of some of the "plastics" -- which, by the way, was my main reason for panicking when I thought it was lost forever.

I never did get around to the cleaning job intended, and so it was lost in its entirety. All I could think about was what a heyday some thief would have with my credit cards if I didn't get them canceled out immediately. And so when the purse was returned, I wasted no time. There was a job to be done.


Although the last purse I purchased has been downsized from previous ones, there is still plenty in it. I used to think that the bigger the purse, the more in it and the heavier it would be. Not so. The smaller a woman's purse, the bigger challenge it is to see how much can be fit into it. So as I dumped out the purse, I was amazed at all I saw.

Before me lay the story of my life. Who I was, what I bought, as well as my social life. Social Security card, health and car insurance cards, driver's license, credit cards, video cards, library cards. Not to mention all the "punch"' cards that, when full, entitle the holder to something free -- nylons, dry cleaning, videos, pizzas, etc. These are really great if one remembers to use them.

The next items were even more interesting. A toothbrush with half of the bristles missing; a date book from 1997; coupons, all expired; a card listing all of our children's phone numbers and of which two were still current; and a doctor's phone number, one who retired five years ago.

Then there were the survival items, such as a book to read or a scratch pad; things used to occupy my time when I'm with my husband and we visit car lots. Also, a deck of cards in case we attend a boring party; plus several dirty headache tablets, always good to have on hand. The items in the very bottom were rather disgusting: several pieces of candy and gum, still in wrappers. I'm sure a little soaking would get the paper off and there would be a lot of flavor left! Toothpicks, new and used; tissues, new and used; pens, mostly not working. It was time to restock and throw away.

The day of purse-cleaning was also a day to reminisce. I found three rolled up wedding -- one of the couples has been married five years and has two children. Several prayer cards of people who had passed away quite a while ago and yet I knew were still deeply missed by their families now.

It was a day for me to count my blessings and appreciate every minute; and I decided now might be a good time to visit some elderly friends, something I had been meaning to do. And of course, tucked away were several family photos -- my, how we have changed!

Thank goodness I got my life back. I carefully restocked that purse with some of the original items. After all, you can't throw your whole life into the wastebasket!

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