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Thursday, July 28, 2005

st anthony

St Anthony

~ Patron Saint of Lost Articles ~

Well St Anto's done it again, despite my scepticism and graceless approach.

After all the miracles he's performed for me over the years as Saint of Lost Articles - and summoned at a moment's notice, to boot - you'd think I'd be more polite and believing.

I learnt of his tracking powers from my Mum (who else?), who sensibly wastes no time grubbing around on hands and knees but immediately rushes off to light candles and plead her case with the good Doctor. They're almost certainly on first-name terms by now with mama granted special dispensation to charge all the various trouvés to her antonian account.

Having done some homework, I see that St A is not just one of the Lost Article Saints, but the man to turn to for all your problems with

  • Shipwrecks
  • Starvation
  • Amputations
  • Domestic animals
  • Elderly people
  • Expectant mothers
  • Mail (Whoa! Poor guy - you'd think with this one he'd be excused the rest)
  • And 'Travel Hostesses', would you believe?
  • Anyway, he's always been the saint my family turned to when things went missing.

    First some background: two years ago I needed my Natural Insurance number to quote to the British DHSS for their continued efficient husbandry of my UK pension.

    Shock horror. No sign of the card, even tho' I saw it clearly in my mind's eye as somewhere very sensible and very safe and by no means lost.

    Despite periodic dismantlings of the house and family-splintering temper tantrums fanned by wild accusations, no card was ever found and no help received across the Pond in tracking down previous employers.

    Yesterday I was leafing thru my dwindling finances and thinking how convenient it would be to at least have my NI contributions sorted out.

    Before I knew what I was saying, I was blurting out a shame-faced supplication to the old boy. Nothing too cheesy or hypocritical - just that if he could see his way to dropping me the teensiest *hint* as to the wretched card's whereabouts, I'd be most terribly grateful and definitely make it worth his while, yadda yadda.

    So this morning over breakfast I suddenly fancy hearing some old *old* Randy Newman.

    cupboard with closed doorsI go to this beautiful antique cabinet where I keep spare CDs I never listen to and as I'm riffling through the racks, I think:

    1. This is the least convenient place to keep or find old CDs
    2. This is too classy a piece of furniture to use for dumping unwanted music and other knick-knacks.
    3. You don't need an antique closet anyway. You're an open shelving IKEA man.
    4. You need money to stay in town, or you'll be lugging it out to the front lawn anyway and letting it go for a dime in your "Off-2-Greece, everything must go, farewell Bainbridge yard sale", sniffle.
    5. Find *this* honey a good home by investing a little time and advertising space in tracking down an appreciative owner.

    cabinet openBreakfast over, I'm seriously tempted by the idea of getting rid of the cabinet.

    We bought it in Hong Kong and shipped it all the way over here and it's never really found its purpose. Lovely piece of work, tho', with a deep secret panel ideal for storing booze and the like.

    I start moving the CDs around and deciding what I can give back to the girls out of the discarded Walkmen and headphones and cameras and wires in the main body of the cabinet.

    As I shuffle these items - like I've shuffled them once a week for the past five or six years - I notice these two dinky drawers right under my nose.

    I open the left drawer first and lo and behold the dinky leather card wallet I bought in Hong Kong to cope with the mountain of business cards one has thrust on one in the far east.

    Even before I open it, I recognize my "very sensible very safe" hiding place.

    I open remove the cards from the holder. A veritable cornucopia of ancient history:

    • My NI card (and never has the garish mix of red and pale blue looked more aesthetically lovely)
    • My Hong Kong driving licence and Hong Kong Telecom phone card
    • Stephanie's and my HKG identity cards from *before* the 1997 hand over
    • My Hong Kong Automobile Association membership card

    How to explain this extraordinary coincidence?

    I must set out at once on a pilgrimage to Snoqualmie and St Anthony's Church in Carnation, there to kneel in kneel in all-night vigil, my hair shirt chafing as my trusty page stands a respectful distance behind, cat o' nine-tails aloft, ready for my signal to deliver a cleansing flogging.

    I tell you this, henceforth I am definitely paying more respectful attention to that Saint of the Day calendar.

    Meanwhile, I don't suppose my regiment of 12 readers includes a connoisseur of fine furniture on the lookout for a decent period piece? I must get on with digging out the receipt to remind myself what we bought it for back in the early 90s.

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