So after last week where I told you of the wonder of living in Gonzales, you might have thought I was just putting words on the paper, and you would have been right. I do love this town, and now I want to illustrate why.
I have no sense of padding my column; I write what I feel like writing. This space might come with no strings about what I write about, although you might find that a lot of what I write could be gathered at the Post Office. But we are too busy in our days to look at all the bulletins that are pasted up in said location.
No, what I write about is what I know or have witnessed. Sometimes I will leave something out of a story, but it is never done on purpose.
Now you take this week: My bashful bride was just dropping off at her friend’s house. She is a truly busy lady — what with all the demands of serving on the city council, acting as our representative on the Monterey-Salinas Transit Authority, and truly helping folks that take a moment to call her about a problem she might be able to help with. Nothing makes her happier than to deal with the decision makers on behalf of a citizen.
This week a bunch of folks, the Gonzales Police Department and a wonderful citizen of our town stepped up when she needed a hand.
Lorraine had been visiting a friend, and when she stepped out of the house to check the items she had left in her car, she realized that something was missing. After spending a few minutes crawling underneath the car and walking around the yard, it became obvious that her backpack had been taken from where she had left it.
Now, Lorraine and I have been together for over 40 years. During that time I have spent considerable time telling her that not everyone is an altar boy at the local church. There are always some that don’t follow the rules and that she needs to be aware of all that is around her. Of course, that wasn’t the words she needed to hear.
Have you ever lost your wallet or purse? I’m sure that you were just as she was, beating herself up trying to remember if she could have done anything different than she could have. I assured her that she had done what you are supposed to do.
She told everyone near that she had lost her backpack and would they call her if they happen to spot it. Then she called the police to ask if they saw it to call her. I’ll take a moment to tell you about the first response she found.
The Gonzales Police Department was first, and they asked all the right questions and told her that they would keep a watch out. She then received a call from a friend who told her that a neighbor had one of those doorbells that takes a video if it is bothered. She quickly drove over to see the video. You could see the fellow that grabbed her purse and kept on going.
She jumped into the car only to find that one of the neighbors knew this person and that there was no good news. The culprit was known to the police department and not in a good way.
Sensing that I was getting a little tense because I wasn’t doing anything, she decided that we should look in all the garbage cans that are in the area of the theft. I’ll tell you that this was not my first suggestion. I was of the opinion that it was too late. “How much money did you have in the purse/backpack?” I asked, thinking this was a wasted moment, but I knew it would help to get her to let me go home. So we looked in all kinds of refuse before we decided to go home.
It was about then that the person who had the video knew the thief and might help the police locate him. It seems this was not the first step taken in a life of crime. So we came home. Lorraine posted her loss on Facebook and we decided to have a cocktail. OK, it was I that suggested that a dram of tequila may not cure the loss of her purse and keys, but it made me feel better.
Today we went to Salinas to have her car re-keyed and have a breakfast. While trying to decide where we were going to drown our problems in a cup of coffee, Lorraine got the call we had hoped to come through. It seems a neighbor had walked around his house and noticed a black backpack. He picked it up and found the purse we had been looking for. He walked over to another neighbor and asked it they had lost a backpack. He said he didn’t know what was in the backpack, but it didn’t belong to him.
As God works his wonders in a mysterious way, he asked another neighbor who happened to know what was going on. She immediately called us in Salinas and described what she had been handed. Lorraine took the call, but I could see that something good had happened. She hung up and told me we were going home, as someone had handed her friend a backpack that was identified as Lorraine’s.
Now I want to tell you that Lorraine is a solid Catholic and saw the results of her prayers. The thief had stolen the money that was in the purse, but it was a small amount and we will get past that. She was so happy.
We drove back to Gonzales and went directly to her friend’s house. As we pulled up, there was a small crowd of friends waiting for our arrival. They were almost as happy as Lorraine that she had found her backpack. I was walking over to a police car that had been involved in looking for the purse when I saw that she was going over to another house.
I followed her, as I was sure it was good news. It was. Her wallet and all her keys were in the backpack this gentleman had found in the back of his yard. I have to tell you that Lorraine was really happy. She had lost the money inside, but honestly wasn’t that much.
I took out all the money I had in my wallet and tried to give it to the fellow that had found this backpack and spent some time trying to find out who it belonged to. This wonderful citizen of our town would not take a penny and touched my heart when he said, “No man, that’s what we do.” I asked if I could use his name in this column and he said he wished I wouldn’t. It was his duty.
Perhaps now you will understand my column last week a little better. This man is exactly what I was talking about. Thank you to all who helped find Lorraine’s backpack. It truly is the best little town ever.