The things one finds while out walking…..
Throughout the years…specifically, over more than several decades of running, I was lucky enough to amass a small “fortune.” Before you think I was some running phenom, I’ll set the record straight: My fortune was pure luck….although I did win a years’ supply of curly fries as a first place finisher in a 10K once. Usually every run, no matter the distance covered, I’d find money. Pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters…dollar bills. I’ve even found foreign currency (odd I know, on U.S. soil). The only time I didn’t pick up coins was when I was in a race. Well, with the exception of one time when I spotted a dollar bill near the finish line of a marathon. I was ridiculously giddy over the find…”I actually got paid for running this race!” I told Rocket-man, who chalked up my manic-euphoria to post-race physical and mental depletion.
So, during those daily runs my eye would invariably catch the shimmer of a coin (or more often, multiple coins), and even if I was clipping along at a good pace I’d stop and pick them up, stashing the money in the small pocket of my running shorts or holding the money in my hand. On three separate occasions I found a $20 bill and once I found a total of $40 (my largest haul!).
Once I tried to give the three quarters I had picked up to a homeless guy. We’d see him shuffling along towards the pier that jutted out into the ocean nearly every morning during our eight years in Southern California. I often wondered about his “story.” On one particular morning he was walking down the steep hill towards the pier when I spotted him across the street. In an instant I knew I wanted to give him those quarters. I crossed the street to catch up to him and offered him the money. He wouldn’t take my quarters! He was quite polite about it mind you. I tried again: “I just found these quarters on the sidewalk,” I told him, panting heavily as I had been running uphill. “No thank you,” was all he said as he continued on. On another occasion, I found a $10 bill. I saw a women coming towards me pushing a baby stroller. “Here,” I said trying to give her the $10 dollar note. “I just found this money in the gutter…and you know that wives tale about finding money….you should pass it along. So here.” She too refused the money! “Hey girl…you were lucky enough to find it. Just treat yourself to coffee after your run,” she said.
OK folks….I tried. And yes, sometimes I’d put those found dollar bills in the church collection basket.
If Rocket-man was along for the run I’d often hand him my coins to carry. We’d often say, partly in jest, that this money was going towards my daughter’s college education or this money could be used to pay a portion of our long-term care. How much money did I collect? Well, I lost count after I got divorced but before the split I can tell you exactly how much because I had collected the money in a large glass bottle…. $99.00. That was $99…in coins! I don’t know about you…but I thought that was pretty impressive. I used that money for part of my daughter’s 11th grade summer art study program in Philadelphia.
I’ve also found items other than money.
Once Rocket-man and I stumbled upon a backpack filled with cans of beer. Probably some teenagers up to no good, we reasoned. The backpack was really nice though. Hmm. For a nano-second we thought about emptying the pack and taking the backpack before abandoning the idea. We left it where we found it but threw away the beer. I’ve found all kinds of shoes (from baby shoes to Stilettos), baseball caps, winter gloves, jackets, pacifiers, toys, sun glasses, and grossly…condoms, packaged and… um…not packaged. Major ewwww factor, I know!
Naturally, we didn’t take home any of the list of things we found during all those runs. But it was rather entertaining to spend the better part of the run wondering about the back story: how did these items come to be where they wound up? After all, we often ran on out-of-the-way trails and one would not expect to find…say, a single blue-flowered ladies pump on the trail. So we’d often entertain each other (or, just get lost in our own thoughts) with possible scenarios to explain our finds. Sometimes the stories were comical, or romantic….and sometimes dark and sinister…which is when we’d acknowledge we were watching way too much of Criminal Minds.
Just the other day I added a new item to my The Things One Finds while Walking repertoire….
The Poodle and I are out for our daily morning walk. We are on the street directly behind my house. To provide a little perspective: We live on a mountain with lots of trees and rocks around. Our development is less than five years old and there aren’t many houses up here, though lots are being sold and building is starting to pick up. Currently there is only one house on the street behind me and one other under construction. Further down the same street, on the other side of the main road up the mountain to our house there are three other houses.
I’m power walking with The Poodle. Yes…I’ll admit…he’s not too happy about the pace that I’ve set because, well, he wants to stop and pee on every other bush and lamppost! I’m yanking him along the sidewalk with a stern “heel” command when my eye catches an item off into the brush.
Really? I think as I continue walking. Nah….couldn’t be, I think.
Curiosity got the best of me so I doubled back, confusing The Poodle, to the spot where the item lay.
Now in all my years of running and walking… this is a first!
It’s an EPT pregnancy stick.
What a strange place to find this item! Someone had to have purposely thrown it away at this spot. There is no other trash or debris in the area….just this pregnancy stick. Hmm….do we really want to know this back story!?
I tell Rocket-man about my discovery later in the day and he reminds me that we’ve found used condoms on more than one occasion up here on the mountain. Since there are few houses apparently our mountain-top neighborhood is a favorite hanky-panky spot for lovers.
What was the reading, you ask?
Negative. Not pregnant.
I’m going out-on-a-limb here….but I’m guessing that someone–at least one person– is mighty relieved.