On Tuesday, November 20, we left for Rockville, MD, just outside of D.C. We were going to stay two nights with friends, visit with a dear friend in town from FL, then have Thanksgiving day with a friend in Baltimore, and finally stop for a night in Richmond to see my aunt and cousin before heading home.
We had the phone numbers and directions for our first friend on our laptop computer. So when we arrived in Rockville, we got off the freeway and stopped in a random neighborhood to look up our directions. Alas, our computer would not work. Steve kept trying to get Windows up and running, while I began knocking on doors trying to find a phone book to look up our friends. But it turned out that our friends, having only cell phones, were not listed. We had no way to reach them, and had no clue where they lived.
In the mean time, our kids were tired of sitting for 3+ hours in the car, so I let them play in the leaves and grass on the curb in this neighborhood. The sun had set and now darkness settled over us. Our empty computer bag was on top of our car, but I moved it to the grass to show the kids a large moth that had rested on it.
The third neighbor we spoke to asked if we needed help. We asked for directions to a library, hoping we could get online and find an old e-mail message that contained the information for our friend. I hurriedly buckled all three kids in the car again, and found Josiah's sandals that he'd thrown on the grass. We zoomed off, trying to find the library, when finally our host called us and we were directed by phone to her home.
We did not discover until the next afternoon that our computer bag was missing. With a sinking feeling, I remembered that I'd placed it on the grass, and forgotten about it when I loaded the car in the dark. We returned to where we'd left it, but saw no computer bag.
Since people had seemed so kind the previous night, and since it was a quiet cul-de-sac, I figured maybe somebody had rescued the bag for us and we just needed to locate it. So Steve and I began knocking on doors (again!) and leaving notes for people asking if they had any information regarding our lost property. We left our phone number on several doors, hoping we'd get a reply. We also drove by the police station and asked if it had been turned in. Sadly they answered "no."
Twenty-four hours after we had last seen our bag, we were online, buying a new power supply for our computer. We had lost two flashdrives, a power cord and power supply, and many papers of Steve's. Meanwhile our computer still didn't work.
Forty-eight hours after we had last seen our bag, we were in Baltimore and it was Thanksgiving night. We received a phone call saying that a neighbor's son had found our bag the night we lost it and would meet us to give it back. We could hardly believe it. On Friday, en route from Baltimore to Richmond, we stopped at this cul-de-sac in Rockville one more time and gratefully retrieved our computer bag. What an answer to prayer to have found what we'd lost.
Now we just have to get our computer working again... it's better than it was, but not back to normal yet. Hmmm...