We hadn’t had a family vacation since 2008 and now I know why. Vacations can be grueling. On the first day my darling husband lost track of one of our suitcases. Mine, of course. It ended up with a discombobulated family who, after waiting in an inordinately long line for the rental car, all the while trying to keep their kids from completely losing it, accidentally packed our bag in their car and took it to Steamboat Springs. We were heading for Aspen. The two ski meccas are not conveniently close together. So, sans ski coat, underwear and *gasp* my phone charger (I am the only non-Forbidden Fruit user in the family), we made our way to our destination.
There are times when the kindness of strangers staggers me. The flustered family from Cleveland realized their mistake, called us up and assured us they would courier the bag to us ASAP. (This is an wholehearted endorsement for putting your cell phone number on your bag tag!) The suitcase made it to our hotel before we did. It would have been far easier for them to have just parked it in the lobby of their own hotel and pretend they’d never seen it. A lot of people would have handled it that way. After all, a vacation from Cleveland to Steamboat Springs isn’t cheap. Nor is same-day delivering an accidentally-pilfered suitcase through the Colorado Rockies.
The vacation wrapped up with an equal bang. Elder son, crazy-ass skier that he is, decided to bomb a steep, mogul covered face at full speed–after going off on his own. When the phone rang, he’d been digging for half an hour, having somehow buried his ski on the face. We searched for another hour and a half. Ski patrol, locals and strangers from ages 10 to 70 stopped and gave us a hand for various stretches of time, all to no avail. We dug again the next day, when one gentleman offered to bring up his metal detector. The ski was under there somewhere, right? The second day, the patrol and an embarrassingly high number of local denizens schussed by saying “Are you STILL looking for that ski?” Well, we’d ruined the face of the run, having dug a giant pit in the middle of the thing, so YES, we were. I felt bad, but no one else seemed to think the pit was a problem, and both our metal detector friend, and a local ski bum swore HE would be the one to find the damn ski. Alas, neither did, though we left Aspen with a lot of assurances that it would turn up eventually. Eldest Son returned to UCLA with only one ski in his bag, but I have this irrational certainty that come May or June, we’re going to get a call from another kind stranger saying “Hey, I have your ski.”
How do you repay selfless acts of kindness, or even people just doing the right thing? I’m sure the universe will drop a chance in my lap. I only hope I’m wise enough to recognize it for what it is when it happens.