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JOY IN THE JOURNEY

January 24, 2013

By Linda Beerman


Being with grandkids can be so much fun! This weekend we have enjoyed having three of our grandchildren, Taylor, Lexi, and Abbi, from DesMoines, Iowa, with us. Their parents, our daughter, Melissa, and her husband, Ryan, wanted a couple days of "away time" together..so we agreed to help out. We have played games for hours, watched a couple movies, fixed a lot of snacks, and even played in the snow here and there after church on Sunday. Taylor is twelve, so he, grandpa, and I can play some pretty competitive board games together! Lexi, nine, and Abbi, six, have our bathtub full of Mermaid Barbies and all of the playthings to go with it. Chatting and laughing with them is great! The days have been full, and we have thoroughly enjoyed our time.

Last September I had the privilege of staying with them for a week at their home in Iowa while their parents went to Rhode Island. Most of the days they were in school, so i enjoyed a little time just for myself. I got to catch up on reading, writing some letters, and even "people watching" at a huge mall just minutes from their home. There were many stores I had never heard of, so it was exciting. Fortunately I could actually shop for the first few days there, and I did! But that was all about to change....

Taylor is an avid baseball player, and on Sunday afternoon, September 16th, the girls and I took Taylor to the big sports complex on the other side of the city for a game. We had to drive through downtown DesMoines to get there, and we got a little lost, but finally made it. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and we were ready to be enthusiastic fans to cheer the boyson to victory. He had to be there early, so after we left him off we drove to fill the car with gas, get some snacks, and just pass the time. We arrived back at the field and parking lot about twenty minutes before the game began.

I had brought a small cooler with drinks and our snacks, so I decided to put a little cash inside it for the concession stand and leave my purse in the car. Because my back windows are darkened, I opened the back passenger side door and shoved my purse under the front seat, out of sight. The girls grabbed their toys, I had the blanket and cooler, and we locked the car. The parking area is quite a distance from the actual playing field, so we started walking toward the game. We ended up being there from noon until 4:00 P.M., all the while enjoying the gorgeous day.

When the games ended, the mass of people headed towards the vehicles to go home. As we approached our car, Lexi went around to the back passenger side to get in. She said, "Grandma, what is all this black stuff on the ground?" I went around the back of the car to check it out, and realized it was glass. The back window was totally missing on the side of the car, and then it hit me!! No...not my purse, please not my purse. As I opened the door to see more shattered glass all over the seat and floor, I had a sickened feeling. It was gone. I kept checking under the front seat, moving my hand everywhere possible...but no use..it was all gone, everything inside it was no longer mine. The rest of the car's possessions were all intact...nothing else stolen!

Realizing that I had to move quickly before all of the people around us were gone, I started asking Taylor where his coach was. He found him within minutes, and he was our first blessing of the moments and hours to follow. He helped us call the police to report the theft, and stayed with us until they arrived.

As the police report was filled out, the officer told me that "they" had probably watched me put my purse under the seat and lock the doors. When we left, they just broke the window and took the purse. He says it happens quite often, and he also told me that people think their purse or other possessions are safe in a locked trunk. But what happens a lot now is what the police call "BASH AND DASH". The scenero is that people open their trunk, put the purse or other items in, lock it, and walk away. When you are gone, the theives come and bash the trunk open, steal the belongings, and dash away! AGAIN...THEY ARE WATCHING YOU!! The advice given to me that day was this: Try not to leave valuable things in the trunk or car...but if you must, PUT THEM IN THE CAR AT HOME, BEFORE YOU LEAVE. That way, of course, no one sees what you are doing.

The police officer stayed to help us search the ditches and garbage cans around the area to see if we could find anything left behind. We never did. On our drive home, we actually began to make a list of the GOOD THINGS that we could count. We were so thankful that none of us were hurt, and the robbery didn't involve the kids or me. Even though I had no way to buy anything, we had a car full of gas, and it still ran very well, except for a window missing! (Have you ever driven with a missing window? It is LOUD!!) We all began laughing as we had to yell to talk to one another. I assured the kids that everything would be all right as we were headed HOME where we had beds, food, and a secure place to be. Calm feelings were returning!

Lost that day was my drivers license, checkbook, credit cards, medical cards, camera, and even my medicare and social security cards. And of course a host of other items too numerous to mention. Again, the best advice given was to go home and report all credit cards and the checks missing to the bank and the credit companies. When you do that, you will not be held responsible for any fraudulent checks or usage on the credit cards. I did that by Sunday evening, but it was not easy!! First of all, the numbers to call are on the BACK of the STOLEN cards. Fortunately my husband and I have pretty much the same cards, so he could give me numbers over the phone. The rest I had to go online to find. Thanks to our hometown First National Bank, Fulda, for quickly stopping and cancelling accounts that could have caused more problems if not done.

I had just one more day with the grandkids before their parents arrived home. I am thankful that it happened at the end of my stay. The people in DesMoines that I had to work with were just awesome, from thebaseball coach to the police officers and dispatcher. The insurance company worked quickly to get my window repaired before my drive back to Minnesota in just one day! Over the next couple weeks and even months, I spent hours on the phone. It truly is a real nightmare. And it hasn't ended! Because of checks and credit cards used dishonestly for about 48 hours until everything was stopped or denied, my drivers license and some checks are still "flagged" and not accepted in certain businesses. The credit companies tell me it could take up to two years before things all work smoothly again. Thank goodness for debit cards!

Getting new social security and medicare cards is not a picnic nor an easy task either. Whew! What a learning experience this has been. Oh, and then I went on an airplane the end of September to Chicago...not even thinking about the fact that I did not have a "real" drivers license yet..it was still coming in the mail. When I tried to go through security, I was held up until I could prove who I was. They wanted me to find a letter or something that had my address and information on it. Really?? However, another praise! I found a letter from the Social Security Administration in my "new" purse...funny, because that purse did not have much in it! So I was allowed to get on the plane and meet my daughters for a great weekend in Chicago. Yes!!

lbeerman@lismoretel.com



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