Gift Card

The holiday detritus overwhelmed me last week. “I am going to clear out and donate to a church rummage sale,” I announced.

This year we had a triple dose of gifting: Christmas with the usual greeting cards, gifts and treats; helping with an estate including bringing some home to sell later, all topped off with a celebration of our 50 years of marriage (and birthdays) with friends and family. 

At one party, my tease of a grandchild watched everything I opened and faked snatching a gift card from me, “Why thank you! That is just what I need.”

“Oh no, you don’t. It’s mine. You can’t have that.” I would have tucked it into my pocket, but I didn’t have one that day. I started to slide it back into the card and envelope until I saw the teaser sneaking a hand to my pile while grinning right at me.

“Here, put this away in your pocket,” I motioned to my husband. The teaser walked away.

Later, sorting through the cards and gifts, I asked him for the gift card. He reached into his pocket and came up empty. “Hmm, I thought it was there.”

“Did you put it back with the other gifts?” I nodded at the box holding Christmas gifts and anniversary greeting cards.

No gift card.

A week later, he sat down with all the Christmas, anniversary, and birthday cards, opened each individually, read and noted the signature before putting all back into a bag. No gift card. Nor was it in my file for important papers. I know because I checked it three times. 

I resigned myself that either the card was permanently gone or it would just appear sometime.  It’s happened before. Years ago my son could not find a dry gourd he used as a bank. We looked until we said, “Can’t find it. Be more careful.” A couple of months later, I opened my closet and saw that money gourd hanging among my dresses, skirts and blouses.

Another time, I read a Facebook announcement, “I found a gift card to the grocery store today. I don’t know who gave it to us but thank you.” I had given a card just like that five months before in response to a bit of a crisis. Evidently the crisis was later than I thought. 

           Some cards never reappear. Like the time my husband tossed a gas gift card in the trash because it had nothing left on it. A couple days later, he realized he had two cards and had tossed the one with plenty of money left on it. 

I quit looking for the card. Instead, I gathered toys, clothes, odds and ends that no one cared about anymore. Boxes and extra storage tubs began filling the back of our van. As I emptied one shelf after another, I found room to store the pile of books I hope to read someday. Gathering items to fill another box, I dropped a pile on the couch. The whomp tipped over the box of anniversary cards. I scrambled to gather the scattered cards and there was the long-lost gift card on top of the greeting cards which we both had reviewed several times.

I tucked it safely (I think) into my purse. We will be using it this week along with a couple others cards we recently received. I like giving gift cards. Still after considering the number we have lost, in the future, I may be sending checks. If the check is lost or never cashed, I am a tad bit richer, and I have no complaints with that.

About jottingjoan

retired former newspaper writer. Many children and grandchildren. One husband.
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