COLUMN: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone

Last Thursday afternoon I took a leisurely drive across Sumas Prairie. Travel by tractor is quite illuminating

Last Thursday afternoon I took a leisurely drive across Sumas Prairie. At about 18 miles an hour, with no top and no windshield, travel by tractor is quite illuminating as to the crops grown on our farmland. Remnant gladiolus stand colourful among the wheat stalks as a field was rotated, the vast swards of lawn turf intense emerald green and the odours, both pleasant and pungent, of mown hay and other aspects of farming’s “dairy air.”

The heat of the summer sun tempered by the breeze of motion, it was an entirely pleasant way to travel, the noise of the diesel and the hum of the large and lugged four-wheel-drive tires diminished by earmuffs.

The trip took an hour, and after dropping off the rig at my eldest son’s property, he drove me home. An hour or so later, and knowing I’d be cooking my own dinner that evening, I drove down to the local shopping centre for some fixins. Standing at the self-checkout I reached for the shoppers’ loyalty card in my wallet and found an empty back pocket. I turned, shocked and wide-eyed, towards the young gal who is there to assist those us who occasionally fumble the self-serve aspect of payment.

From my look she knew that something was wrong.

“I lost my wallet,” was my stunned response as I dug into my other pocket for some cash, paid and made a hasty retreat home, imagining all the way that it must have fallen out of my pocket and onto the farm roads of Sumas Prairie during the tractor delivery.

However, by this time it was some three hours later than my original trip, so it was with visions of looming financial catastrophe that I set out, not so leisurely this time, to retrace my tracks.

It wasn’t such a pleasant drive this time, and the outcome was not successful. As I drove home, all I could think of was that a couple of credit cars, ATM cards, driver’s licence, firearms licence, boat operator’s permit, Care Card and God knows what else I couldn’t recall was in the wallet, and were now likely in the hands of some felon currently engaging in a spending spree.

What also crossed my mind was that I didn’t have a clue what my credit card numbers were, or who to call to cancel them. And without debit cards and credit card, and my last $20 spent earlier at the grocery store, what was I going to do for money in the meantime?

Then came the realization that to replace all the licences and other vital forms of identification was also going to take time and cost money, possibly a considerable sum.

It’s surprising the disaster scenarios one can conjure in a few minutes driving across a darkening landscape, the good humour of a few hours before dashed as easily as a wallet slipping out of your pocket.

By this time also, the person who can usually find anything (but her own car keys) had arrived home and I called her, requesting that she check an old pair of jeans upstairs – just in case.

Nope, not there came the reply and I hung up, even more disconsolate and envisioning a night of explanations to various credit card cancellation agencies.

Then, moments later, another phone call . . . “I found it, teetering on a partly opened drawer of the bedroom bureau.”

I had, it appears, knocked it out of my pocket when getting dressed that morning, and for some inexplicable reason had gone the whole day without that familiar lump in my back pocket.

Relief flooded in, along with the realization that it is imperative to record and photocopy both sides of every card and document in my wallet, and store that information in a safe place, just in case the next loss is a real one.