I lost my ring of keys in Rye Heritage Park last Thursday. Car keys, door keys, post box key, other keys. What a pain.
My tennis pal Manny and I looked everywhere for about 30 minutes and then gave up. The problem is that you always find a lost item in the last place you look.
About 30 minutes after we had departed in despair, a March Miracle!
A large group of children were enjoying the fresh and cold air at the playground. Six-year-old Jesse had found a ring of keys in the park and handed them to his parents.
Enter the NOTL Detective Kids, and who says there are no young people in our town? (That’s why Parliament Oak Public School closed, right? Wrong.)
When these nine amateur sleuths swung into action, they created a plan and were determined, with lots of confidence. Everything but pipes, deerstalker hats and a pink panther. Inspector Clouseau and Sherlock Holmes, move aside.
The nine children were all members of the Wiens, Vanderlee and Bucci families.
Chief Inspector Ella Wiens, 11, sketched a detailed map of the scene. A list of clues was created. They had noticed two somewhat athletic looking gents, one with gray or white hair, who was wearing a white sweater and blue tights, with slimming red stripes down the legs.
The other man seemed to be a tennis coach and looked Hawaiian. He was called Manny and was eating peanuts and laughing a lot.
The key loser had been greatly enjoying a small Jos Louis chocolate cakette as they searched. By a stroke of observant luck, Frank Bucci or one of his children had noticed a white Kia car parked in the wee lot and the licence plate ended in “239.” Amazing, eh?
Frank and two kids drove around the neighbourhood, looking for the white Kia. Found it. They knocked on my door, but no answer.
That evening, a 8” x 8” bristol board sign was drawn up. “ YOUR LOST KEYS ARE FOUND. CALL THE WIENS (and the telephone number.)”
The next day, I decided to drop by the tennis courts once more, just for a last look. Imagine my joy when I saw the laminated sign on a post.
I called, we knew each other from our running days, and we arranged to meet in Rye Heritage Park and have a celebration the next day. Don’t we just love living in a small town like NOTL?
Young Jesse returned my keys on a big silver platter and the nine kids enjoyed big carrot cupcakes with sour cream icing, absolutely fresh from Sweets & Swirls Cafe in the NOTL Community Centre.
I, the grateful key owner, made a very brief speech about “doing the right thing” and “having great friends.” If you have great friends, all else follows, eh?
Joyful feelings all around and a wonderful story.
Let me ramble now to a respectful conclusion. We love living in a tourist town. Shouldn’t we have an organized, easy-to-locate lost and found system? When people are not in their hometown, they are, by definition, out of their routines. They lose things. Heck, even locals lose things, as I have proven.
A trusted source tells me that during the tourist season, at least once a week someone manages to find our local Chamber of Commerce office, with a lost or found situation. A cellphone, keys, a credit card, a camera, sunglasses.
Until now, a rather haphazard system has sometimes managed to pair lost articles with anxious and stressed lookers. “I’ll write down your name and telephone number, and call you if it’s turned in.”
Let’s organize a more formal lost and found place, perhaps at the Chamber office, with an official log book to increase the chances of more miracles.
Get the word out to merchants, restaurants, the police, the NOTL Ambassadors. It’s just a small thing, but it will make us seem even more organized and classy as a tourism destination.
Another wee observation: I defy anyone to provide explicit directions to Rye Heritage Park. King Street, Cottage Street, Rye Street, a quick left, a driveway. But no sign. No sign for Rye Park!
Such a wonderful, big and well-kept park. And so many informative and interesting plaques to read.
Learn about Court House and Gaol, 1817-1866, British Home Children, Our Western Home. There is more plaque than you would ever see at the local dental office.