The minute she saw the gray lump in the road, Shirl knew it was going to affect her time.
Maybe Jon hadn’t noticed it - how could he? All he cared about was his hand-held...
“Mom! Didn’t you see that? You gotta go back and check out that bag - it’s probably got money in it or credit cards or...”
Shirl raised her eyebrows at her son and he curtailed his thoughts.
“Something else important,” Jon trailed off. “You gotta go back - please?” He gave her his best smile.
“Alright Jon, you got me. But this better not take too long - we’ve got to get you to practice.”
Shirl turned the car around in a church parking lot and thought to herself - we don’t have any extra time. I am so tired of rushing here and there and for what? Everything seems so meaningless and now we’re going to be in a bigger rush. She shook her head.
But as they approached the place where the bag lay, a pickup truck came barreling toward it. Why did Shirl suddenly care? Now that she could see it, she hoped it wouldn’t be destroyed.
“Ahhh, no! Don’t run over our bag.” Jon moaned
“It’s not ours, Jon.” But Shirl was relieved to see that the truck had somehow missed it and continued down the road. She pulled over and stopped on the broad shoulder.
Jon had his seatbelt off and threw open his door.
“Slow down, make sure no one’s coming!” Shirl yelled.
“There’s nobody around,” he called as he sprinted toward the bag. He picked it up and shook it next to his ear.
Shirl made a wry smile and shook her head. Money would not make much noise, but her son didn’t seem to care. He raced back to the car.
“I’m glad you came back before you opened it.” Shirl realized this could be dangerous, why had she agreed to this? “Wait, maybe we better not open it here, now,” she warned.
“Cool!” Jon was saying. “Check this out.” He pulled out a pack of gum. “Beeman’s Blackjack - weird gum.” (This from a kid who enjoyed sour gummy worms.)
“And look!” From deep in the bag he pulled a small lamb, whittled from some soft wood.
Pine, Shirl thought right away, a memory of her granddad flashed through her mind. Matter of fact, she thought, he used to chew that gum, too. Where in the world did this stuff come from?
“Hey, look Mom! Check out the store receipt. It’s from some place called ‘Carpenters’.
“Let me see that.” Shirl could see writing on the back She read,
And weary seekers of the best,
We come back laden from our quest,
To find that all the sages said
Is in the Book our mothers read.
Strange, sweet, innocent, Shirl thought.
Finally, a reference to Acts 17:27-28.
“Cool!” Jon said. “Can we keep this stuff? I really like this lamb - Do you think Carpenters has any more?”
“I don’t think there’s a Carpenters anymore,” Shirl told him. “They closed years ago - don’t chew that gum.”
“This is weird, but kind of intriguing” Shirl said dreamily. Then she shook her head and said, “It would be great to check all this out, but if we don’t get moving now we’re going to be late for your practice!”
At practice, Jon’s friends thought the bag was too cool. Shirl remained intrigued and couldn’t wait to get home.
When they got there, Jason met them at the door. “How’d you do, Sport?”
“Great, Dad, we found a bag.” Jon answered excitedly.
“Yeah?” Jason looked curious.
“Yeah, Jason do we still have that old Bible?” Shirl asked.
“Sure, it’s on the shelf behind the computer,” he answered.
“Good, I need to see it!” Shirl went directly to the shelf pulling at the Bible.
Jason frowned. “What’s up?”
As Shirl thumbed her way through trying to remember the order of the books she said, “I need to find out who still whittles and where they found Beeman’s gum and what’s so important about Acts 17:27-28.”
Jason let out a low whistle. “Shirl, what kind of bag was that? Some kind of reverse geocache?”
“You could say that,” she answered,
And the search was on.
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