I find a lot of odd things while jogging the three or five mile loop around the farms behind my house. I don’t go looking for stuff, mind you, I just look down or out ahead of my feet and BAM! There’s a pink bowling ball!! What the heck? How does a bowling ball wind up in a ditch on a hillside? And yet, there it is. I took it to school when I was still teaching middle school drama. It was used in at least one play, a western. You didn’t see that coming, did you? The gunslingers weren’t allowed to have even fake guns in a post- Columbine world, so they bowled for domination of the saloon. It was cute in a twisted and bizarre fashion. Similar to the Michael Jackson parody (while he was fully alive, mind you again) where the seventh grade actor kept changing his clay nose and finally threw it away in disgust. Sorry, Michael. We didn’t know.
Some things make sense– car parts, hubcaps, cds of Cher’s greatest hits, or something that obviously fell off a car like cans of cheap beer. (No one ever throws away a full Heineken, notice?) But three men’s wallets? One was full of recent baby pictures, but there was no identification card. I analyzed the pictures and found the name of the baby on the back of one photo. So I called the hospital, and despite some resistance to overriding the rules of confidentiality, the small town woman in records told me the father’s phone number. (“I’m a mother and would want my baby’s pictures back no matter what.”) I returned the wallet to an ungrateful woman, who I assumed was wallet man’s mother. No good deed goes unpunished, my bloguido. I could only imagine how the wallet got separated from the owner and wound up in a stubbled cornfield in November. I resolved not to do that again, but made an exception for a guy’s wallet that I found on top of a snow bank a few years later. He came to my house and was grateful for my efforts.
I’ve found coins occasionally and little shiny objects; they’re hard to miss. But one fine day I was jogging up the long, calf-killer hill and noticed a five dollar bill under my left foot. I stopped to pick it up. Nice! I looked around in case the five had family or friends waiting for him. I found two more fives and three ones in the alfalfa. I was pleased and confused. “Who throws money out of their car?” Needless to say I continued to expect to find money at that same spot. A day or two later I noticed a shiny silver object in the field. It looked like some kind of car gauge tool. When I got home and examined the bauble with my glasses on, I figured out that I had found a drug scale that weighed grams. Then I knew who throws money out of their window– drug dealers with cops on their butts. I wondered what their story was and again could only imagine the scene.
I told you about the kitten that appeared from the corn and now sleeps next to me each night. No, not my wife. She was another jogging trophy, the cat, not my wife. Anyway, I also found a couple of turtles crossing the road. I brought them home and they crawled away from my yard. I wish the cat could follow their example.
I once jogged across a pack of pornographic playing cards from RAM Ranch. I thought it was odd how they were sprinkled in front of the farmer’s lane around his mailbox. Made me wonder if the dealer of the porn cards wasn’t sending some message to the old Mennonite farmer. I picked them up because I didn’t want the lady of the farm to come out for mail and find way too much male and female. Disgusting.
Shotgun shells, empty and full. Tools. Dolls. Food. Deer carcasses. Playboys. Golfballs. And a stethoscope. Okay, who loses a stethoscope by the side of the road? Come on, man!