That Day My Two Tubs of Family Photos Fell Out of My Car and I Drove Off Without Knowing It

The secluded property with two houses at Eagle Creek Reservoir was my first dog-sitting gig and also will be close to my last.  I spent many weeks and much time in both houses, caring for one, two or three dogs depending on who was home and who was vacationing.  I grew to love the koi pond, the gardens, and the winds in the trees.  I saw whooping cranes, hawks, pileated woodpeckers and got serenaded many evenings by great horned owls.  The place began to feel like home to me, so the day I left for the last time, I felt sad and nostalgic.


Sweet Ted and I went for daily walks through the neighborhood.  Except for that one night when he didn’t want to go.  I have two scars attesting to that night.

Ted Turner sat on my lap as we watched the huge, colorful koi swimming peacefully beneath the gurgling waterfall.  In the last three weeks, the cherry trees, the Korean Spice bushes, the lilacs, the Lilies of the Valley all bloomed and filled the air with sweet, pungent aromas.  Each blooming helped ease my discomfort living through the first spring of having none of my own gardens to enjoy.

When I was packed up and the house was cleaned, I put Ted in his crate, locked the door behind me and drove off.  Without a home of my own, I clearly become attached to the homes I stay in and the pets that I care for.  After some minutes, I pulled off the road and texted the three adults who lived on the property (and were due home from the airport any minute) thanking them for trusting me with their homes and animal family members.  I was feeling a tad dramatic.  As I was pulling out, I looked in the rear view mirror of my Forester SUV and the view was a bit too clear.  I realized that I wasn’t looking through glass, but straight out the back of the car.

I parked, got out to figure out what was going on and saw that not only was the door up, but there were big empty holes where tubs had just been wedged in for the move to my next location.  I now remembered a clatter when I went up a hill at some point and at that moment I assumed that the tubs had just shifted toward the back.  Now I saw that I had lost several containers of somethings!  Oh. My. God.  What on earth was wrong with me?  I can’t seem to save myself from myself.

Now I realized that I had to go back to the house, desperately hoping that the things had fallen out in the slightly sloped driveway and that the owners had not yet gotten home from the airport.  As I drove down the street, as much as I would have liked to see them, I was chanting, “Please don’t be home, please don’t be home.”  And…….the garage door was up and they were all taking bags out of the car.  I’m almost past any ability to feel embarrassed about my life’s ridiculous turns, but I drove up and said through my rolled-down window, “I’m BACK!”  They all laughed.

I asked if they had seen any tubs in the driveway and they said no, but there were several tubs beside the road out at  56th street!!  They said one tub looked like there were shoes in it.  They had even commented to each other that they looked like my tubs, but had no reason to suspect that they would be mine.  (I guess they don’t know me very well.)  I thanked them—again—and drove quickly to see what remained of my belongings.

And, yes, there beside the stop sign on the sloped road getting on to 56th street were three tubs laid carefully in the grass.  Someone had obviously picked them up from the road and placed them out of harm’s way.  And believe it or not, two of the three tubs were my FAMILY PICTURES!!  Those tubs were completely intact.  The other tub was a now busted up tub–in it the only shoes that I have left to my name.  By the shape of everything, I am guessing that my guardian angel picked up the strewn-in-the-road shoes and put them carefully into the broken tub, and carefully placed them, together with the picture tubs, under the stop sign.  Somehow when crazy stuff happens to me, there always seems to be an angel protecting me and allowing the outcomes to not be the worst case scenarios.

So there are two possibilities of what could have happened.  I am choosing to believe that I did not drive away with the back door up on my Forester SUV.  I was distracted, but I will not believe that I could have done such a stupid thing.  More than likely, the door was not latched and when I stopped on the sloped incline, the tubs fell back and the door flew open.  What I thought was a loud shifting backwards of tubs was actually a loud falling-out-of-the-car of tubs.  Sigh.

So today is Mother’s Day.  I moved back home to Indiana on Mother’s Day 27 years ago with two little girls.  Six weeks from today, on Father’s Day, I will be driving away from our family reunion with my sister Julie heading out for our cross-country adventure, ending up in Oakland, California where I will be reunited with those same little girls and I will move in to my new digs on July 1st.  At that point, I will have been on this nomadic adventure for 11.5 months.

Stay tuned.  I have some exciting things happening this week.  Wild animals are involved.




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