a sense of wonder, only slightly used . . .

Yesterday I was emptying out my purse to change my belongings to a different one (I have a small collection of western tooled-leather purses and like to show them all love equally) when, along with a wad of receipts smashed against the purse bottom, this fell out:

I don't even remember eating Chinese food recently -- I guess this means I should clean out my purse more often or at least take better care of my receipts -- but I suppose I got it in a fortune cookie during one of my lunches with my daughters and put it in my purse to add to my "fortune cookie fortunes" collection, then forgot about it.

I think having a fortune fall out of your purse onto the kitchen counter is as good as finding it in a cookie, don't you? It counts.

I immediately started wondering whether the wonderful thing had already happened, or if I should still be waiting for it.
Would I know when it did?

And even more importantly, if it HAD already happened, did that count for the time I found it in the cookie but now the clock could start over since I had serendipitously come upon the slip of paper again?

One of the first things I thought of is this piece, which turned out to be perhaps my favorite piece from last year:

I made it with a nod to my mother, because she has always said that the class everyone should be required to take is "Change 101", but they don't seem to offer that class anywhere. And because looking at the road map in my life -- and the world's life, for that matter -- over the past 10 years, I can clearly see that STUFF HAPPENS. Good (wonderful even), bad (awful even), or mundane, it just keeps happening. And no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to control it or even imagine it most of the time. Surprise.

Then I started thinking about the things that had happened just since the fortune fell out on the counter yesterday, and I decided that the fortune had certainly been fulfilled, whether I recognized it or not. For instance:

1) The jeans I bought before my vacation still fit after my vacation -- I'm wearing them now. A miracle.

2) I had a really great cheese enchilada for lunch with green chile (not up to NM standards, but pretty good for MN). Delicious.

3) We went for a splendid bike ride along the Mississippi river trail, and the leaves are just about peaking this weekend. Most remarkably, we are enjoying a rare 70 degree day in mid-October. Amazingly beautiful. The outing came complete with a large diet Coke and a donut, which we shared in the pickup truck while listening to "Play that Funky Music, White Boy" on a '70's radio station. Amazingly satisfying.

4) I finished the most delightful book I have read in a long time (thanks, Hannah!) which I would highly recommend to anyone who loves a good read:

Think Jane Austen but with a bit more edge -- set in the 1930's in a ramshackle house in England that is attached to some castle ruins -- about a highly dysfunctional and entertaining family whose adventures and conversations lead to great discussions on things like religion, creativity, and the nature of love. Delightul.

5) We watched a truly entertaining Perry Mason episode, in which Perry and Della were on a cruise ship (sensational late-1950's special effects).

The episode was chock full of all the things that make me love Perry Mason: unrequited love (look at the way Della looks at him and he never seems to notice), Paul's terrible and hilarious lack of acting skills (Paul, on the other hand, would love to have Della, but looks aren't everything), Perry's celebrity (and therefore stuck-up personality, although he manages to remain the likable hero) and his superior brain power which pounds Hamilton Burger mercilessly into the ground at each and every trial. Most enjoyable.

6) Cooper had a bath, and is once again decidedly handsome and less smelly. One cannot help but pet him, and he knows it and is taking advantage. Wag, wag, wag.

So I will file my little fortune away with my collection, knowing that it was most definitely fulfilled -- a lesson in seeing the wonderful beneath the veneer of the ordinary. Or perhaps I should hide it somewhere else where I am sure to forget about it again and will therefore be able to find it (and cash it in) again. We'll see.

Oh yes -- today's title came from the lyrics of a song about a garage sale (I don't know what song or by whom) that I heard on NPR on my way home from the grocery store. I heard it after I had written this post, but before I had posted it (because I didn't have a title).



Amelia and Justin said...

What a great post. I have to remind myself occassionally (OK, a lot) to think of all the wonderful things that have happened for me. Like today, for example, I played the organ for the first time in sacrament and it sounded decent. Not just wonderful, but a miracle :)

Oh, and I must say thank you for writing the Coffee Cake recipie in th Meredith Family Cookbook because it is no longer on the Bisquick box, and I needed it this morning...so thanks!

susan m hinckley said...

Seriously -- why would they drop that recipe from the box? This is a mystery I have never understood. Happy to be of service. And I AM SO PROUD OF YOU ON THE ORGAN! Well, okay, jealous and proud. I know how hard you've worked on all your musical gifts. Bravo!

Jessie said...

I've read that book! I read it in 7th grade (I was a teacher's pet, and she suggested I read it); so it's been a while, but I remember that I like it. And it made me decide that, when I got married and had kids, we would live in an old (but modernized for our convenience)castle in England.

Brian said...

Hi Susan, it's Annie but logged in as Brian. Great post. I love the focus on the small wonderful things around you. I enjoy your writing and am so envious of your ability to have complete thoughts. I hope that ability comes back to me when I am not raising small children. I am happy to make a sentence with a subject and verb. Even as a certain 2 year old drives me crazy and an infant takes most of my time, they are wonderful.

april said...

great post. you write amazingly, susan, and we all could use the reminder of looking for the daily wonderfuls. thank you.

i've been thinking about doing a post about a fortune cookie fortune that i got about a month ago and think about almost daily. (now i'm going to feel like i'm copying you!) i've never thought of having a fortune collection, how fun! yeah, refinding a fortune in a purse definitely counts.

thanks for the book recommendation; and yes, perry mason and recently bathed dog does make it a good day.

april said...

to comment on the comments: the last time i went to make coffee cake with bisquick, i had to google the recipe.

susan m hinckley said...

Well to comment on your comment, I have pretty much abandoned the Bisquick coffee cake recipe in favor of a scratch one (because I was out of Bisquick one day but had a coffee cake emergency) that is similar and just as easy but uses oatmeal, and therefore (we pretend) is more healthy -- actually, a whole stick of butter?! Let's hope the oatmeal mitigates the butter somehow . . . anyway, if anyone wants the recipe, I'm happy to share! And Annie, your mental capacities will improve when your kids are grown, just in time for you to lose them again due to old age. Sorry. And about copying posts (fortune cookies) now I would love to read your take on it, April. Please write it!

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