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Laguna Observed

Discovering a Treasure Trove

By Ruth Yunker

I went to the Woman’s Club Art Fair last Sunday…and spent money. I hadn’t wanted to spend. I hadn’t expected to spend. To that end, I only had two dollars in my wallet. But I did have my checkbook. I don’t usually carry my checkbook. The only reason I had my checkbook with me Sunday is because my pilates instructor doesn’t accept credit cards. Having forgotten twice in a row to have my checkbook with me to pay, I had tossed the thing in my purse to make bloody well sure I had it with me the next time I went.

The Woman’s Club Art Fair was filled with treasures. It was bustling by the time I rushed in. I was late, and in fact already late to where I was going next, a surprise birthday party for a friend at Hotel Laguna, and you know as well as I do, one must not be late for a surprise birthday party. So I arrived at the Art Fair in a bit of a tear, expecting to hasten through and be on my way.

But the fair was a treasure trove, an Aladdin’s cave. Jewelry predominated, but there were also paintings, cards, t-shirts, purses and more. It was glittering.

Such beautiful things. But I was good at first. Staying a little aloof going by the tables. Only checking one or two prices. But at artist, poet, and printmaker Barbara Garrett’s display, I flat out halted. One knows that is the first step to spending downfall. I loved her work, in particular her cards of cats. Then Barbara herself came up to chat. She turned out to be as charming as her work, and I do believe I would have purchased several cards right then and there. But Barbara didn’t take credit cards. So I moved on, with all her info with me. Because I want, need and must have some of her beautiful cards.

Just as I was safely about to leave, I caught sight of the most beautiful necklace in the world. It was love at first sight. A coup de foudre! I had to have it.

It was more than I intended to spend, but now I didn’t care. I have a birthday coming up, right?  So what it’s in five months.

The artist, a beautiful woman, Carolyn Skenderian, was showing me how to wear this gorgeous thing. Fabulous! And I was thinking, I’ll bet she doesn’t take credit cards. But I politely queried. She didn’t take credit cards. So I sighed with a mixture of relief and despair, and it was then that my checkbook called to me from the very bottom of my voluminous purse. “I’m heeeere,” it crooned—

All was lost. I pulled that sucker up from the dark depths of my bag and bent over to write the check. Carolyn and I, and her son, and the lady helping her, and the granddaughter, all had a very fun chat. I took the package containing my prize, smiled my thanks, and moseyed out the front door.

Suddenly I heard someone calling my name. It was Carolyn’s son. “Ruth, so sorry, but we can’t find the check anywhere. Did you hand it to us?”

Well of course I had. But chagrined and worried about the fate of that check, I hastened back with him to the table. No check. “Maybe it’s still in your checkbook?” Of course it wasn’t still in my—

The check was still in my checkbook. It had been torn out, but there it lay upside down, still in my checkbook.

Babbling my apologies, I handed over the check and skulked out.

Later, at the birthday party at the Hotel Laguna, wailing about this to a friend, feeling like a crook, he reassured me. “If you were an actual crook, you would have gotten away with it.”

Ruth Yunker is a humorist and the author of “Me, Myself and Paris,” available on Amazon.com.

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