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Little Spouse On The Prairie: Things Gone Missing

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I believe every family has its mysteries. Every clan has the old, unanswered questions like, “Whatever happened to Granddad’s ’57 Chevy?” and “Who ended up with Grandma’s peacock brooch?” and “What is the secret ingredient in Aunt Carol’s rhubarb pie?”...

I believe every family has its mysteries. Every clan has the old, unanswered questions like, “Whatever happened to Granddad’s ’57 Chevy?” and “Who ended up with Grandma’s peacock brooch?” and “What is the secret ingredient in Aunt Carol’s rhubarb pie?”

Our family is no exception. We seem to have a new mystery popping up every single day. I can name four or five from last week alone. For example, why was there half a piece of raisin-spice cake on the guest bathroom floor Monday night? And who broke the lamp in the office? And why, for the love of all that makes any sense at all, are there four opened bottles of catsup in the refrigerator?

Tuesday, Joel walked into the room and said, “You have 43.”

I responded, “Forty-three what?”

“I don’t know. I forgot what I was going to say.”

I never did find out what I have 43 of.

As I got into bed Wednesday night, Joel said, “I’m gonna. . .” He stopped right there and continued to read his book. I sat down and said, “You’re gonna what?”

“Is this some sort of trick question?” he asked.

Most of these everyday mysteries are never solved. Usually, we forget about them until the next one comes along. I have to admit though; I am still not over that spice cake. That had my mom’s homemade maple icing on it! I came pretty close to eating it right off the guest bathroom floor.

We’ve never had any of those truly remarkable stories happen in our family. You know the ones in which a woman loses her wedding ring while working in the garden, and 30 years later it shows up embedded in a carrot? Or the ones in which a guy loses his class ring at sea, and a fishmonger finds it in a fish’s belly when he filets the catch and realizes it belonged to his grandfather who lost it in 1899. Though come to think of it, several years ago, Joel thought he lost his wedding ring at a taco place, and two years later (after we had bought a new one), he did find it under the stove in our kitchen.

Perhaps the funniest mystery was one that we actually solved. Thursday evening, Joel fried up five hamburgers -- one for each of us -- for dinner. We filled our plates and sat down at the table, but Dashiell had only fries – no burger. “

“Did you really already eat your burger?” I asked, quite ready to believe that my teenage boy had wolfed his meal before the rest of us had even gathered at the table. “You know we have a rule that you’re supposed to wait until we are all at the table before we start eating!”

“No! Mom. There weren’t enough. It’s okay. I’ll just eat fries,” Dashiell was quick to protest.

“Don’t lie to me, child!” I spoke loudly. “What happened to your burger?” Joel insisted he had made five.

We decided that perhaps one of the burgers had flopped onto the floor as we descended on the plate of burgers like a swarm of hungry locusts, so we searched around the kitchen. We don’t have an indoor pet, we couldn’t scapegoat an animal (a non-human animal, anyway). Joel’s face was getting all red as we continued to hunt. He even reached around in the garbage disposal. Everyone else’s food was getting cold, so I prepared a quick ham sandwich for Dashiell. I would have gladly given him my burger, but I had already put mustard on, and Dashiell is a catsup-only kind of guy. We returned to the table, disoriented and grumpy.

When Joel lifted up his burger for his first bite, lo and behold, we saw the missing meat. Beneath Joel’s bottom bun (hamburger bun, that is) it rested. We all laughed and laughed as Joel sheepishly transferred the food over to Dashiell’s plate. “I don’t know whether to be relieved that this proves I really did make five hamburgers, or whether to be worried that I have lost more than a chunk of meat,” Joel remarked.

Follow Little Spouse at facebook.com/littlespouseontheprairie and on Twitter at SpouseOnThePrairie@ValerieKuchera. Be sure to send me a message if you figure out what I have 43 of.

Tune in next week!