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Finders Weepers

Perel Grossman

“Ma, let’s be reasonable. I know you wanted to get rid of it and purposely hid it in a pillowcase in my guest bedroom so I wouldn’t find it until after you left.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock

I race through the foyer to the front door, spin around, and fling myself against the entranceway, dramatically throwing my arms to each side for emphasis. 

“NOBODY leaves until this is settled,” I pronounce, glaring threateningly at my daughters and sons-in-law. 

Chaim’s eyes dart from side to side; I already know what he’s thinking. 

“Guard the side door!” I bark in my husband’s general direction. 

Chaim has a plan: “Rivky — quick!” he whispers to his wife (my daughter!). “Take the kids out the back door!” 

“Ari, cover the back sliding door!” is my swift and ruthless response. “And don’t even try the family room door,” I warn Chaim. “I nailed it shut the minute Yom Tov was over!” 

Rivky approaches cautiously, inching gingerly toward me and speaking in soothing tones. “Ma?” she begins, tentatively. “Maybe we can do this another time? Chaim has to wake up early tomorrow, and the kids are…”

“NO MORE EXCUSES! No one is going anywhere until that basket of items is empty. You are all here now and I know that this stuff belongs to you. I expect you guys to look through it all — single socks, pieces of toys, phone chargers, the works — and take your belongings home with you. I can stand here all night if that’s what it takes….”

[Fantasy sequence ends] 

Okay. That never happened. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

Frankly, I’m tired of finding strange undershirts in my laundry, mysterious (but essential-looking) electronic components between my couch pillows, rain capes in my trunk, and books, seforim, and bottles of hair gel abandoned in random locations. I can’t throw them out, I just can’t! I don’t even know if I’m allowed to just toss them. I fear I will have to store them, chas v’shalom, “ad bi’as goel tzedek bimheirah b’yameinu — amen!” 

Photo: Shutterstock

But try as I may, I can’t get my kids and frequent visitors to look through our “Lost and Found” and reclaim their possessions. So, at the very least, I try to make sure that the collection does not get any bigger. 

I work tirelessly to prevent guests from leaving anything behind. After my kids spend a Shabbos at my house and are packing the car, I run around in search of abandoned articles, then rush back out to the car, brandishing anything I find victoriously.

“Avromie, is this your tie?” I shout from the side door. And I’m big enough to admit it — my tone is a little bit accusatory. 

“No, Mommy, I’m pretty sure I saw Daddy wearing it at the Shabbos table earlier today.” 

“Oh. Right. Um... just testing. But how about THIS??” I exclaim, triumphantly waving a clear plastic disc in his face. 

“What is it?” asks his wife, Brochie, redolent with fake innocence.

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