Our Trip to Lucas, Kansas:
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The second night of our trip found us in Salina, Kansas. On Tuesday, we planned to go to Lucas, the folk art capital of – well – Kansas, and then drive on to Denver. All went well. We arrived in Lucas, took photos of S. P. Dinsmoor’s house, Garden of Eden, looked at some other sites and then went to The Flying Pig Gallery, where we met world-famous artist (that’s what the website says), Eric Abraham. As we were talking with Eric, I discovered that my billfold was missing.
We immediately went back to the car, removed everything and searched everywhere, including clothes from the day before. Nothing. We called the motel in Salina. They checked the room. Nothing. We retraced our morning drive back to Salina. Nothing. We checked the motel room. You get the point.
We spent four hours in the lobby of the motel in Salina dealing with various issues. We cancelled credit cards; new ones could be to us in two or three days – they had to travel to Calhoun first. We checked with the bank. No problems there. However, the Georgia DMV said that since my driver’s license expires next month, they would not issue a temporary license. Our biggest problem, among several, was whether or not to travel without a driver’s license. Chances are, I could have driven, and we would never have had a problem. Chances are we could have driven through Kansas, and I would never have lost my billfold.
The other problem was that we had reservations that had to be cancelled almost immediately, or we would lose a great deal of money. After much anguish and many telephone calls we determined to return home and fly to Denver later this summer. The folks at the various places we had planned to stay were very understanding and even helpful. We have another trip planned.
But, this story goes on. As we left Salina we were certain that I had dropped the billfold and someone had probably taken it. . (We had taken everything out of the car and searched again in Salina. We had also called every place we had been the day before on the off chance that the billfold had not made it to Salina. No luck.) We turned south, toward Tulsa, around 3:00 Tuesday afternoon. Lee drove. We spent Tuesday night in Tulsa, tired and depressed – two of the lesser-known dwarves. We were convinced that with the very best luck, some honest person would send us the billfold with everything intact. With reasonable luck, someone had picked the billfold up, stolen the cash and thrown the rest way. With worst luck, our story would become the basis for a TV movie about elderly folks driven to the Poor House by identity theft.
Wednesday, we drove to Tupelo, hometown of Elvis and our last stop last year after our trip to LA. As we were going to bed, I thought I might read Wolf Hall on my iPad and listen to music. I asked Lee where my earphones (actually earbuds) were. She said they were attached to my iPod in the tote bag. She reached into a side pocket and pulled out the iPod — except, it was my billfold with earphones wrapped around it. Consternation ensued.
The denouement: I had been reading and listening on Monday night after Lee had gone to sleep. I remember becoming very sleepy and turning the iPad off. I do not remember wrapping the earphones around my billfold, but I must have done so, thinking it was the iPod. (I tend to keep the earphones attached to the iPod.) Anyway, the next morning, before we left for Lucas, I handed Lee the billfold with the earphones, thinking it was the iPod. She took it, thinking it was the iPod, and put it in a side pocket of a tote bag. Before we left the motel, I looked in the nightstand drawer to be sure I had taken everything from it. I remember this because the only thing in the drawer was a Book of Mormon, which I picked up for a second or two. Distracted by Mormonism, I did not check to be sure my billfold was in my back pocket. When we had looked in the pocket of the tote, all that registered was the earphones which appeared to be the iPod. (There is an interesting show on the Science Channel called Brain Games which discusses how easily our brains can be tricked. Cold comfort.)
Having already cancelled reservations, made other plans and driven around 800 miles back toward home, we were unwilling to turn around. Thursday we drove home, thinking how many little things had to have gone wrong for us not to have noticed the missing billfold before we left Salina or found it once we started looking. As we drove back to Calhoun, we thought of Kansas, Oz, the Yellow Brick Road and evil witches.