Back in the day (I hate that cliché), I used to do features like this for slow TV news days. It’s been a week of family soap opera, spawned by disciples of “Ozzie and Harriet”, “Father Knows Best” and “Modern Family”. Oh, the angst! Today figured to be a reprieve. Lunch with an old pal from my working days. I looked forward to sharing stories about baseball, favorite TV shows, and guy gossip. Perfect weather. Tee shirt weather. My old, yellow, sports car with the sun roof would be my wheels. Girls call my car and me “cool and awesome”. Ready to roll.

But, as Columbo would say, “… just one more thing, Sir”. I couldn’t find my shoulder bag. My shoulder bag which contains my driver’s license, SS card, medical and credit cards. Marilyn joined me in the household search, from casual to frantic. Car searches turned up nothing. I stared accusingly at the dogs. Visions of a conspiracy grew. Why me?

Marilyn tried to calm me down as my grumbling grew louder, laced with profanity and anger. Why me?

She tried to call my friend to cancel lunch but his contact numbers were out-of-date. I had failed to update contact vitals. Why me?

I dashed off an email to my pal, explaining the situation and apologizing for the last minute lunch cancellation. My anger was growing. Except, I was the perp.

Finally, I decided to retrace my movements of the past 24 to 36 hours. Local deli to supermarket. I kept thinking of what potentially lay ahead if my ID and credit cards were really lost … or even worse, had been stolen. Dammit!

The supermarket folks were kind. They knew me. One of the perks of living in a small town is that everyone knows your name. One of the managers smiled and indicated they had it — even before I could get the question out.

I gulped and stepped back, taking a deep breath. They searched high and low, assuring me my bag was safe, under lock and key.

The long wait. Finally, with deep apologies, they said my bag was at the police station. Why were they apologizing?? I was the one who’d lost the bag. I gave myself a Gibbs’ head slap.

The police station is only a couple of minutes away, but season long road work has the middle of town in a virtual freeze frame. Twenty minutes later, I pulled into the police station parking lot. I counted to ten and got out of the car. I took a few steps, then got back into the car … to turn the engine off. Another one to ten count then advance into the police station.

They greeted me with smiles. Yes, they had my bag!! They recognized my police badge. Actually, it’s an auxiliary police badge given to me back in my working days. Yes, I still like to flip the holder cover open, casually revealing the badge. I’m admittedly an aging ham.

My bag was returned to me. I signed a release form with a BIG “Thank You”. The station personnel kept smiling. I wanted to slowly back out, feeling very stupid. They wouldn’t let me leave. Why me?? It seems they wanted to take pictures with me. To show off to their family and friends. Who used to watch me on television. Very weird.

I kept thinking … they shoot horses, don’t they?


  1. Covert Novelist April 11, 2017 / 12:39 am

    Garry, I truly enjoyed this. Obviously well written (why would I expect anything less) but involving touching, and yes we can all relate to the angst of losing something that incredibly important. Glad the lost is found, and that you live in a small community where they knew you and cared enough totake care of your bag properly. Awesome stuff! Hope your lunch was spetacular!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Garry Armstrong April 11, 2017 / 1:34 pm

      Thanks, Covert. This is an encore post but I remember the day well. Actually, it’s a nice follow up of last night’s viewing of 1964’s “A Shot In The Dark”. We needed something funny to end our night. “A Shot In The Dark” is perhaps the funniest of Peter Sellers’ “Inspector Clouseau” movies. My day in this post felt very Clouseau like.


      • Covert Novelist April 11, 2017 / 1:39 pm

        I love Peter Sellers and Inspector Clouseau. They were the best! lol I bet it did! hahaha sorry but that just paints a picture haha


        • Garry Armstrong April 11, 2017 / 2:05 pm

          Covert, the film clicked in my mind as I answered you. We hadn’t watched it in awhile. I think it was Herbert Lom’s funniest movie role. I haven’t watched the Steve Martin Clouseau remakes.


          • Covert Novelist April 11, 2017 / 2:12 pm

            I liked Steve Martin, it was good, but nothing beats the original, just sayin’


  2. lwbut April 11, 2017 / 12:46 am

    Shoot Horses?? Maybe you just need putting out to pasture! 😉

    Thankfully i don’t have TOO many days like that one. 🙂

    At least you retained your sense of humour tho’ – right?


    Liked by 1 person

    • Garry Armstrong April 11, 2017 / 1:40 pm

      lwbut, I guess you have to be able to laugh at yourself. I’ve had many “laugh at myself” scenenarios.

      Years ago, during the height of my TV News celebrity, I was entering a local bank in Boston’s Government Center. People greeted me with smiles. As I smiled, I walked smack dab into a glass door. Ouch!! The reflection showed my nose smushed against the glass door. In the background, I heard a little girl ask, “Mommy, why did that man walk into the door?”

      I smiled weakly and entered the bank.


  3. Taswegian1957 April 11, 2017 / 5:49 am

    I guess forgetting what we did with things is just a part of life as we get older but you were having a particularly bad day. Thank goodness for small town kindness and it did at least get you away from day time television.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Garry Armstrong April 11, 2017 / 1:43 pm

      Tas, you’re right about small town kindness. That kind of generosity would rarely happen in a big city. There would be tons of red tape and attitude. Celebrity still has some cache for me. I’m grateful.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. judyt54 April 11, 2017 / 8:30 am

    why was it at the police station? and the question that comes before that one, why didn’t the store, if they knew you, just call and tell you your bag was there before sending it off to the police…

    Im just happy you got it back in one piece, and no bystanders were injured in your wake

    Liked by 1 person

    • Garry Armstrong April 11, 2017 / 1:47 pm

      Good question, Judy. I think store management was just doing due diligence. It happened frequently — me and the forgotten shoulder bag. Once, a staffer ran after me and caught me at my car with the bag.

      Now, I have it firmly stuck in my crumbling brain — don’t forget the shoulder bag!!

      And, you are right. No bystanders were hurt and no horses were killed duringt that chaotic moment.


  5. loisajay April 11, 2017 / 8:38 am

    Garry, this was great. Sometimes small towns will choke you, but so many other times, it is good to be in a place where everyone knows your name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Garry Armstrong April 11, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      Lois, you are so right. I often mumble/silently curse the slow drivers who seemingly are in a conspiracy to thwart me on the local roads. I even try to avoid well meaning people in our supermarket who solicit my advice about our current politics. Last week, I had a really “bad” day in the supermarket when I was “ambushed” by several groups, seeking answers about the state of our nation and world. People forget I’ve been retired from TV News for almost 16 years now. They swear they saw me on the telly last night. It’s hard to argue. The plus side obviously is that people still remember me. I recall Bert Lahr’s angst in a memoir. He was very upset that sometimes people didn’t recognize him on the street in his old age. I don’t have that kind of celebrity and it’s usually nice when people stop to chat me up. It happens a lot in our small town.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. swo8 April 11, 2017 / 10:03 am

    Well I’m glad you got your wallet back but I’m sorry to hear you missed your luncheon date. However, (and there’s always a however) you also got to meet some more of your fans – that has to be a pleasant surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Garry Armstrong April 11, 2017 / 1:58 pm

      Leslie, you are right — as usual.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. jcalberta April 11, 2017 / 11:19 am

    That looks like an old time camera Garry. What camera are u using these days?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn Armstrong April 11, 2017 / 12:35 pm

      It’s the relatively new Olympus OM-D (version 1). I have version 2 of the same camera. Olympus designs cameras to look like their older cameras. It’s a style thing. But inside, they are all 2017 (and a half).


      • jcalberta April 11, 2017 / 4:35 pm

        Ah OK. I couldn’t imagine using film anymore.
        But maybe there’s still a few old school people around?


    • Garry Armstrong April 11, 2017 / 1:59 pm

      J/Buck Jones — I think Marilyn just answered the camera question. She’s the camera maven here. I just take pictures.
      BTW: I did a piece years ago at the restaurant site where Buck died in the 1942 fire.


      • jcalberta April 11, 2017 / 4:34 pm

        Do they even sell film anymore? I guess they must.

        Wow! Buck Jones. What an incredible tragedy that was. A shocker.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Garry Armstrong April 12, 2017 / 12:30 pm

          Yes, the Buck Jones story WAS tragic! When I did the piece in ’70, there were still old timers around who remembered the fire, the tragedy and Buck Jones. There was a little book store nearby. It carried old magazines, including one with Buck Jones on the cover.


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