We were spending a couple days on St. Petersburg Beach when my room key, GoPro camera, mask and snorkel went missing. Call it coincidence or just dumb luck, but the simple truth is that on Saturday I managed to lose nearly everything smaller than the car, only to have it magically returned, undamaged. To be honest, I’ve always been a tad forgetful when it comes to keeping track of my personal stuff, but Saturday was over the top. Fortunately I don’t seem to lose other people’s stuff, just mine.
That’s how it went Saturday. Actually, I began forgetting things before we left home. The first item that I forgot was the corkscrew base for our rainbow-colored beach umbrella. On the beach it was a matter of twisting the giant umbrella’s shaft enough to drill it deep enough into the sand. The spinning umbrella resembled a kaleidoscope which prompted more than one colorful punch line. Magically, favorable wind velocity only required me to chase the colorful shade down the beach one or two times, and no one was hurt.
Later in the morning, as my grandson and I sat in the sand at the water’s edge and removed our snorkel gear after a long swim, sloshy waves ebbed and flowed at our feet. While I was removing my fins and booties, one of those ebbing waves lifted my mask and snorkel and swept them out to sea. As we headed up the beach my forgetfulness affliction was full on and I didn’t notice that my mask and snorkel were missing – one of those “out of sight, out of mind” things, or at least that was my story.
It wasn’t until after the family had lunch and had returned to the beach that my penchant for being careless with my own possessions struck again like an innocuous plague. Apparently unfazed by the loss of a $60 mask and snorkel set, I grabbed my GoPro and headed back into the water to film family members who were tossing a football around. Before long I stowed the GoPro in my bathing suit pocket and started throwing ball with the gang. At some point when I dove for the ball my GoPro disappeared into the surf, which was growing ever choppier and murky as the tide rolled in.
By the time news spread to shore and to my wife that I had lost about $200 worth of toys in the span of a few hours, forgetfulness was replaced by a sense of frustration. From the water I saw my wife frown and roll her eyes that way she does when I lose something of value; which exponentially increased my frustration.
Just when I thought our vacation was going to cost hundreds of dollars more than we planned, like magic, things turned around. The longshore current that had carried my stuff away suddenly was powerless against the magic. As I trudged through chest-high water to face humiliation under the vivid hues of our beach umbrella, which by now was flapping like a giant flamingo, I touched the snorkel with my foot. After recovering the mask and attached snorkel, I raised them high in the air like a game-winning ball from a Super Bowl.
Back on shore my wife tepidly applauded; after all, the GoPro was still missing along with all of those vacation pictures. Just then magic struck a second more amazing blow against the fate of things lost. Jimmy, my daughter’s longtime boyfriend, suddenly held a little black box high in the air just behind me and matter-of-factly asked if anyone lost the camera. It was my GoPro! I hadn’t felt so good since I got a call from someone who had found my $600 college ring at the local Little League field where I had been watching my grandson play baseball a few years back.
Later that evening, as family settled around the grill at the beach, conversation turned to the magical twin salvages in the low-visibility surf. Different family members described the twin finds as Divine intervention, a streak of luck and sheer coincidence.
Not being one to associate divinity with puny miracles, I chalked it up to the magic that occasionally rewinds events to balance my life out. Magic or dumb luck notwithstanding, I know that doing the happy dance while holding my snorkel high as Jimmy simultaneously waved my GoPro in the air is one of those fond memories of forgetfulness that will endure.