It once was lost but now it's found...

Wednesday evening I met my friend Joan in Montpelier, Vt. to see the new Clint Eastwood movie and eat at Julio's, the local Mexican restaurant. On Thursday I worked from home most of the day until I had to head out to teach. On Friday, I realized my favorite hat was missing.
This isn't just any hat. It's my favorite hat. The one I've owned for years, the one that's a perfect fit. It's not just comfortable, functional and fashionable, it's a part of me, almost a uniform I don every fall. It makes me feel capable, independent, ready. If it's windy or it's rainy or my hair is bad, no problem I have my hat. I don't even have to think about adjusting it. It falls into place naturally.  Suddenly, it was missing and I felt naked, lost, exposed.

I called Julio's, actually my nephew, who was visiting, called Julio's desperate I think to silence my fears, but all they had in Lost and Found was a black Nike hat and a black Monster cap. I tried to call the theater, but they only had a 24-hour movie phone that played recorded messages of the latest show times. After listening to all the movies and times, I finally found a phone number to talk to a real person, but after calling it repeatedly, no one answered and I was transferred to the movie line once again.

I knew if I lost the hat at the college where I teach I would never locate it, but I couldn't figure out why I would wear the hat there as I do not consider it appropriate to wear when teaching. I might have worn it to avoid the rain on Thursday night, but I have a rain hat in the car for that and besides who wants hat head when you are at the front of the classroom? So I was left with scouring the house on Friday. I ransacked my bedroom, the hat cubbies in the mudroom, the basket on the vanity where my hat usually sits. My poor nephew had to hear me repeatedly whine. I've owned that hat for years and in that time, I have never found another hat that fits me as well, not just physically, but psychologically. I feel more me in that hat.

Out of desperation I ran into TJ Maxx on Friday night hoping I could find another hat that could suffice. By that time, I had resigned myself to the fact that it was indeed lost. But, I knew I had worn it on Wednesday night when I first met Joan because there was a picture on my cell phone of me wearing it. So, I decided to try the movie theater and Julio's once again.

Surprisingly, I got through to the theater on the first try, but the girl who answered said they were busy and that she would check and get right back to me. Julio's informed me about the Nike hat and Monster cap. I waited and waited some more and finally called the theater again.

"You reached the 24-hour movie phone."

I was ready to give up, but thought it worth another call. After several more tries I finally reached the girl again. No hat.

I sighed and headed off to pick up the sub I ordered at the local sandwich shop. Suddenly, my cell rang. I couldn't answer it right away, but checked the number as soon as I pulled into the shop. It was the theater, they had found my hat.

"I'll be there in 45 minutes," I told them, which is exactly how long it takes me to drive to Montpelier.

I did this even though I was suppose to be someplace else, even though I am headed to Montpelier again on Monday and could have asked them to hold onto the hat until then. Suddenly, I felt like the Good Shepherd in the Bible, you know, the one that goes out after the lost sheep. My hat was that sheep and I was ready to go the distance to bring it back into the fold.

I parked the car in front of the theater, darting in and announcing that I was there for my hat. The girl smiled, handed it to me and I placed it on my head, where it fell right into place. Welcome home, I thought, strutting out the door with a big smile. Ahh, such a sweet feeling. Reunited, complete. I felt like me again.