Call me crazy, but I just love walking outside on quiet winter evenings.
When it’s crisp and dark outside, and the stars are twinkling with an icy blue fire; when it’s so cold your lungs burn and your nose-hairs freeze and your eyes start to sting; I just can’t seem to help myself, I just HAVE to be out in it!
Several times a week, usually after the girls are in bed, you can find me all bundled up in my rabbit fur hat and Korean War-era army coat (inherited from my grandpa), crunching happily through the unplowed snow, my face frozen and my breath rising in steady puffs of smoke. And more often than not, Ryu is also somewhere nearby, accompanying me for a leisurely jaunt to the pond and back.
On this particular night, however, I was far from home — and I was all alone.
I was striding briskly down some dark city sidewalks, checking my watch periodically, and getting more and more anxious with every passing minute. My work Christmas party started 5 minutes ago, and I was still a couple of blocks away…
Now, normally that wouldn’t be a big deal. These things never start on time anyway. But I’d told Lindsey I’d meet her there 10 minutes early — and to make matters worse, I didn’t have my phone to tell her I was running late.
Sure, none of this is very serious. Not life-and-death, anyway. It’s not the end of the world to show up late to a work party. But I do feel bad making Lindsey worry.
If only I’d had my phone…
Unfortunately, my phone had been missing for the last 3 days or so. We’d torn the house apart looking for it. I’d lifted every couch cushion and dumped every pair of jeans out of the hamper. I’d checked under every seat in the car and searched every nook and cranny in my pickup. We’d tried calling it. We’d tried using GPS to locate it. But to no avail. My phone simply could not be found.
And now here I was, running late for a date with my sweetheart, and no way of letting her know.
I eventually got to the venue and apologized to Lindsey for keeping her waiting. The party came and went and all was well. But I determined right then and there that I NEEDED a phone again. I hate being tethered by a phone, but the pros definitely outweighed the cons at that particular moment.
Of course, the chances of actually finding my phone were getting slimmer and slimmer, so I figured I was just gonna have to man up and buy a new one.
Now, you probably already know this, but I HATE phone shopping. And that was money I definitely did NOT want to spend. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed about the whole deal.
In fact, the next day, Saturday, while I was out giving the animals some fresh straw, I was still stewing about it. I had just finished my chores and was about to go inside, when I noticed a weird rectangular chunk of dirt lying in a muddy corner of the pig pen. I didn’t really think about it much at first, but it was so perfectly rectangular that it caught my eye and gradually drew my attention away from my phone-shopping woes.
No! It couldn’t be!
In hindsight, I kinda wished I could have watched the horrified expression that must have spread across my face when I finally connected the dots.
Scattering pigs in every direction, I jumped the fence in a single bound (and sunk up to my ankles in pig pucky). I daintily picked up my phone, wiping off as much mud and other matter as I could, and then rushed to the house to assess the damage.
Fast forward past the scrubbing and the disinfecting, picking bits of mud and straw out of every crack and crevice, not to mention a whole weekend of being packed in rice, sitting in front of the heater — it was finally the moment of truth. It was time to try charging my phone back up and turning it on again.
With all the weight and drama you’d expect from such a momentous occasion, I hesitantly pressed the ON button…
And it worked!
I couldn’t believe it!
The plastic case was a little cracked and chewed on. The rubber cover was stretched and warped. And above all, the whole phone had the overpowering stench of something that had just been used to wipe the South end of a Northbound hog. But it WORKED!
I still don’t know how my phone ended up in the pig pen, much less how it managed to survive for more than 3 days there. Personally, I think I must have been pig-pocketed while I was breaking ice from the water trough, but y’know, the only thing that really matters is that I didn’t have to go phone shopping!
It was truly a Christmas miracle!