The other morning, Jane and Emily came to the front door to wave goodbye as I fired up the Model T to come to work. This is one of those moments when a beatific smile of husbandhood and fatherhood is supposed to spread itself across the wrinkles of one's face. Instead, just as I was slipping the key into the driver's side door, I noticed Jane waving her arms frantically.
"Do you know what you did?" she shouted.
"How could I have done anything bad? It's 7:30 in the morning. I'm not even in the car yet."
"Look up on top of the roof, will you, please?"
Egads! In order to fumble for the key, I had set down on the roof of the car the breakfast I intended to eat on the way downtown. It consisted of a full cup of coffee and three pieces of rye bread.
"Do you have any idea what that would look like all over the driveway?" Jane asked, as eight-month-old Emily gave me a look that suggested I had just arrived from Mars.
"I knew it was there all along," I replied, somewhat less than truthfully. "I wouldn't have driven off with all that sitting up there. Nobody ever does that."
Jane smiled. Maybe she knew that Sue Hoover Epstein's letter was waiting.
Sue, who lives in Bethesda, was also a victim of the 7:30 a.m. forget-sies. In her case, though, the item that got left atop her car was her purse.
Sue was on her way to play in a charity golf tournament on the morning in question. But when she opened the door of the family car, she discovered ink all over the seats. Husband Jeff had worked the previous evening at the Post's new Springfield, Va., printing plant, and had accidentally left a memento.
"I plopped my clubs in the trunk, put my purse on top of the car and ran to get some towels to protect my jaunty golf outfit," Sue writes. Then she barreled away in an effort to make her tee-off time. "When I got there, no purse."
Well, thought Sue, maybe it fell off in the driveway. In any event, there was no time to worry, and less to hunt. "I played my round, hoping against hope" that it would turn up.
Thanks to Frank Evans, it did.
Evans, an instructor at the Post Office Management Academy, found the purse on Bradley Boulevard, and notified Jeff. The Epsteins went to reclaim it that afternoon. Although Evans insisted that he didn't want a reward, a bottle of Chivas Regal changed hands.
Like me, Sue swears that it will never happen again. But if you believe in omens, maybe it should. "I won my qualifying round," says Sue, in a postscript. "It must have been my lucky day."