I prized two pendants for sentimental reasons -- one emerald, not a crown jewel, cloudy but green enough to remind me of nature, and one handsome oval smoky quartz, in superstitious terms a highly protective stone, market value five dollars. Wore them joyfully. Last January, hid them and forgot where, so for weeks and months I have torn closets apart, dumped out winter boots, stood on stepstools, searched the garage, and clawed from the cupboard boxes of Jello, thinking: "Maybe I put them here. Or here. Or here. . ." Maybe I hid them in the bottom of a trash can and they got thrown away, or in the folds of an old sweatshirt I bagged and tossed. Could I have done that? The thought gave me a pang. I'd looked everywhere. They were gone. To get a hold of myself, I recalled the Roman poet Catullus, who chided, "Cease this folly, and what you see is lost, set down as lost."
Even so, in the final week of June before leaving for Washington I sheepishly googled "patron saint of lost items," and murmured this "unfailing" prayer to St. Anthony to find the pendants -- sweetening the deal with an offer, if I found them, of a $20 donation to the nearest church:
"Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints. O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and charity for His creatures made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous
powers. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me
(request). O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of
human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant
Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my
heart will ever be yours, plus $20. Amen."
Son of a. . . In the pantry just a half-hour ago behind a stack of canned tomatoes I found a ziplock bag with the green pendant. I stepped back and felt my heartbeat in my throat and was so grateful I collapsed onto the futon.
I said, thank you, St. Anthony. It is half of what I wanted, so you get $10. Returning to the same pantry and shelf, I moved some cans aside and there was the quartz pendant.