When my drive turned up missing, I panicked and immediately searched every corner, every stack and every drawer. I even shook out my boots, thinking I might find it there.
My flash drive is a life source holding my columns, my book, my plays and the many stories of my life. It is like a best friend, a trusted confidant on good days and bad. It is my tireless laborer, lifting the heavy burdens of my thoughts, carrying them and me from one week to the next.
For more than a week now, I have tried to retrace every step I took, remember each place I touched and recall every move I made.
Out of desperation, I have invoked the aid of Saint Anthony, patron saint of lost things. Mind you, even though I have not officially practiced Catholicism for 37 years, part of me always will be Catholic.
My formative years were ceremoniously shaped by and around the Church. The sanctuary was my second home, the confessional, my safe haven, and the saints, my constant companions.
In my childhood home, Saint Christopher protected my family on road trips. We turned to Saint Jude when in hopeless situations and petitioned Saint Blaise whenever we had sore throats.
Saint Anthony of Padua is the saint Catholics turn to for lost keys, lost books, lost memory, lost people, lost anything and everything. And with the commotion of six kids in my childhood home, we were always losing something.
We even had prayer cards with his image on one side and a petition for finding what was lost on the other. Saint Anthony might as well have had a place at our table; we turned to him that much.
The notion of being able to enlist God's army of saints was and still is nothing less than spectacular. Although I must admit, Saint Anthony has yet to come through this time.
It has been 10 days since I last remember removing the drive from my computer. My faith is waning and I have concluded with crushing disappointment that my beloved memory stick is either hiding in some obscure place or it's in the landfill.
I am not ashamed to admit that I have been bouncing back and forth, ushering appeals not only to Saint Anthony, but to Mother Mary and Father God. Maybe with all three pulling for me my drive will miraculously appear.
After rechecking my desk drawers for the fifth time, my purses for the umpteenth time, my coat pockets a gazillion times, I am starting to question my faith, second-guess my absent-mindedness and worry about my dependence on that little stick of memory.
It is probably time to let go and begin to rebuild my repository of writing on a new flash drive. (No offense, Saint Anthony.)
This whole incident smacks of our pet salamander that turned up missing many years ago. He was in the aquarium one day and gone the next. Vanished. I put Saint Anthony to work on that one, too.
Fifteen years later, when rearranging furniture, I reached behind a heavy dresser to get what I thought was a cobweb. Instead, I grabbed a salamander's skeletal remains while emoting a primal scream. Startled and then relieved, I uttered, "Thank you, Saint Anthony."
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took three first-place awards. To contact Paula, email email@example.com, follow her blog at www.my-story-your-story.blogspot.com and find her on Facebook.
2009© Paula Damon