A few years ago I pulled into the parking lot of the church I attend. When I opened the door, there on the ground lay a wire about eight inches long. My daughter has gotten me into the habit of picking up such junk on parking lots in order to keep them from getting tangled into tires and maybe causing some harm. So I leaned down, picked up this thing, turned it over in my hand to discover it was not a piece of junky wire, but an amethyst bracelet. The small square-cut stones had lain facedown on the blacktop, so it wasn’t easy to see what it really was until I had it in hand.
The jewels were small and set side-by-side with miniscule space between each one. The metal was gold. I knew this did not come from the Dollar Store.
There was no car in the parking space and not a clue as to the owner. I have to admit “Finders Keepers” came to mind, but I pushed it right back out. Instead, the Golden Rule took over. If it were my lost jewelry, I’d want it back.
I showed the bracelet to one of our choir members whose husband happens to be in charge of the lost and found articles left in the church. So she took it and said they would do what they could to find the rightful owner.
Weeks passed, and so did the memory of my find.
One day a letter addressed to me landed in our mailbox. Handwritten, with a return address label. I didn’t know the name, but when I opened it and took out the note, I remembered the Sunday I found the bracelet. The owner was found. The bracelet returned.
The following Sunday, I told that same choir member about receiving the thank-you note. She explained how they found the owner through a notice in the following week’s church bulletin, and how grateful she was to get the bracelet back.
Where am I going with this?
I was able to contact the owner. During the course of our conversation, I mentioned that I was a writer and asked her what the story was behind the bracelet. She told me how she acquired it and why it meant so much to her. So my next question was, “May I use that in a story?”
“Of course,” was her enthusiastic reply.
I reminded her that I may do a little embellishing and that was okay with her. So after promising to send her a published copy, we ended our conversation.
East Texas Writers Guild wanted to publish an anthology the following year. I’d already planned one story for it, and I thought the bracelet story will make a wonderful addition. Thinking about the experience, I soon had a great idea on developing a holiday story centered on the bracelet for the following year. And of course, there was the true story of the bracelet which might find its way into another publication.
Who could have predicted that picking up what I thought was a piece of junk in a parking lot could lead to a treasure trove of stories? Maybe there are more contained in that piece of simple jewelry. We’ll see.