Gremlins

…or Milton Lost and Found…..or a very long Blog entry about not much at all.

Our house has gremlins. In a very bad way. Not mean horrible troll like gremlins like you would find in an old English illustration meant to scare children into having good manners, not the ridiculous fuzzy stuffed toy merchandise Gremlins from the movie, gremlins and absolutely not the car from the 1970s. (although I admit, having an infestation of these in our house might be pretty funny) gremlin car  No, I mean pixie-like creatures with a sense of humour and very good hide-outs. I picture them as looking kind of like this little fellow from an old German oil painting: german gremlin

On Thursday this past week I had myself settled on the couch in front of the TV, knitting. I was working on the ideal homespun sock (ideal for me, not everyone wants homespun), prototype number three, second sock of the pair. I reached for the pattern book I was hacking to see how many stitches I would need to turn the heel. Not there. Nor was it on the table next to me or on the trunk or in the knitting bag. Odd, I had used it earlier in the day. It was not by the recliner or in my toolbox in the kitchen. I did a living room recheck. Nope. Might I have dropped it somewhere in transit? Not in the dining room or on the back of the toilet. I hadn’t been up to the captain’s cabin in days but I checked there anyhow. Nothing. I was now becoming frantic. I checked under the couch with a flashlight, under all the furniture in the kitchen, behind the couch cushions, I shook out blankets and throws and sweaters. No joy. I called the public library “Hi, I don’t suppose anyone found a knitting book mixed in with the magazines I returned earlier?” I asked. The voice at the other end of the phone responded with a definite “No” but I thought maliciously “she probably didn’t even look”. I was getting pretty cranky by now and after another tour of the house, as a last resort, I prayed as sincerely as my religion would allow to Saint Anthony: Saint Anthony Saint Anthony, come on down, there’s something lost which must be found.

Saint Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost things (and a host of other things rom amputees to swine herders)

Saint Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost things (and a host of other things from amputees to swine herders) He is most often depicted holding a child.

Now I had heard about Saint Anthony from an Irish lady at a writing workshop I attended a couple of years ago. She had told me that whenever she lost anything she prayed to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, and as sure as there are four green leaves on a four leaf clover, it would turn up short order. After my prayer I did a walk-through of the house so that Saint Anthony could direct my eyeballs appropriately. Nothing. “Guess you have to be Catholic” I thought and sat down to turn the heel of my sock without benefit of instruction. But before I picked up my skivvers to knit, I jotted down into a small home-made notebook as much of the pattern as I could recall by heart.

Later that evening, while I was sitting on the couch with Lance watching My Name is Earl, I prepared to start the decreases for the toe of the sock. I reached for my notebook. What the heck? Not on the table beside me. That was odd, I had just had it. Not on the trunk or slipped to the floor or lost in a blanket or fallen into the knitting bag. “This is ridiculous” I bellowed “Who does not want me to knit socks?” Stewing, I sat back down and decreased stitches from memory. Between episodes of Earl I ran to the kitchen to fetch a darning needle. When I stepped back in the living room, I spied on the arm of the chair, so obvious it was almost glowing, my little notebook. “Did you put that there?” I asked Lance. “No” he responded looking honest enough to pass interrogation. “Are you sure?”, “Of course I’m sure”, “Then who did?” I asked incredulously. “It certainly wasn’t the cat” I spat as Baxter strolled nonchalantly into the room. Then the light bulb went on over my head (the old fashioned kind with the little wire filament, not the new curly kind which lights up too slowly to represent a revelation). The whole time I had been searching Baxter had been watching me from the arm of the couch where, unbeknownst to me, he was warming my notebook. “Time to put that kitty on a diet” I thought, relieved to discover that I wasn’t going batty after all. Pushing my luck, I did another quick turn of the house just in case Saint Anthony was there to help me find all the things I had lost. Not to be this evening so I returned to topping off the sock, happy that at least half of my prayers had been answered.

Yesterday, as I was browsing the internet, I saw that coincidentally, Thursday had been Saint Anthony’s day. Not his feast day but the day that he had been made a saint. (Inducted? No, it wasn’t like a hall of fame. Canonized? Bet my kids would know the word) I laughed and thought that perhaps he hadn’t answered my prayers because he was so busy with all those extra ones fired off on his special day and in light of me not being a Catholic, mine were much lower in priority. Or perhaps he was busy celebrating and then recovering from celebrating. Or maybe on his day he was allowed to get back at all of those who tortured him with a plethora of prayers (it is true that I spend a good bit of every day looking for stuff). “It’s pretty conceited of me to think that I am special enough to be singled out for anything, especially by one of the busiest of all the saints” I thought as I put the computer aside and picked up my knitting, a prototype for a new take-out coffee cup sleeve. I knit away, thinking “In your face Saint Anthony, you can’t make me lose this pattern because I am not using one! Ha!”

Saint Anthony must have been paying attention. It wasn’t five minutes before I dropped a needle, felt it hit my foot and heard it roll to a stop by the footstool. I reached to retrieve it but there was nothing there but a giant dust bunny. “Come on…”. I was annoyed now, it was nowhere in sight.  It couldn’t have gone very far and I got up to move the footstool. It was then I spied it. Not the needle, but the lost knitting book. It was there, in plain sight, between the stool and the chair. Impossible. Totally impossible. It was a big thing, nine by twelve inches, all white except for the two grey socks on the page. I could not have possibly missed it over the course of two days, it wasn’t even hidden. It was right in plain view. I was gob-smacked. And I couldn’t blame this one on Baxter, he isn’t that big. There was simply no explanation. I suppose it could have gotten hung up in the rocker somehow and then released when I stood up. But hung up where, where one couldn’t see it? Gremlins!  I reached for it and at the same time spotted the missing needle.  Saint Anthony must have been catching up on his backlog. Perhaps I had neglected to say “please” as today I discovered the rhyme actually goes “Saint Anthony Saint Anthony please come down, something is lost and cannot be found” No matter, all was right in the world again. Now where was that blue coil-spring notebook I use to write my Blog entries long-hand?

Saint Anthony tormented by demons (or gremlins, none of them have my face I hope)

Saint Anthony tormented by demons (or gremlins? None of them are sporting my face, I hope)

The original saga ended there. I carefully typed it all onto my WordPress page, thinking of lunch as I got close to the end, and of texting my daughter and of brewing a fresh cup of coffee. I clicked to add the last picture of Saint Anthony being tormented and wham, the entire blog entry disappeared but for the first paragraph. Oh come on……..it is just too ironic to completely lose the blog entry about lost items. But lose it I did; the undo button was greyed out and inoperative, the revisions list only showed the first paragraph and my computer’s history had me stopping work an hour prior. On the upside, my memory isn’t as bad as I think and I was able to restore most of the article. On the downside, well, gremlins.

(c) Judy Parsons 2014

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