|"Trust" by Don LaForte|
Last month on October 26th at 11:15 PM I received an email from a lady in Canada named Kim saying that she had read my blog story about the print and my search for a replacement and wanted to inform me that there was one currently for sale on a Facebook group buy and swap page in McBride Canada. Kim noted that she has a copy of the print that has been in her home since 1972 and she loves it as much as I do. I was stunned that a total stranger in Canada would be kind enough to notify me that this print was being offered for sale, and wrote back to thank her.
Excited beyond the ability to sleep, I immediately located the Facebook group Kim spoke of and requested membership. Shortly I received a message from Sheila, the group administrator, asking why someone living in Texas would want to be a member of their community group in British Columbia, Canada (and thinking I might be a spammer). I sent her a link to my post about the print and explained that I wanted the opportunity to try and purchase it from the seller. Sheila kindly added me to the group and told me that Trudy, the lady selling the print, lived just four houses down from her!
I quickly sent a message to Trudy telling her that I was interested in purchasing the print and asking if she would be willing to mail it to me in Texas if I paid for the postage. She messaged me back saying that she was concerned about the feasibility and cost of safely mailing the framed/matted/glassed print to Texas but said she would contact her post office to check into it.
A couple days later she messaged me back after talking to her local post office and we decided that the best way to ship the print would be to remove it from the frame, roll it, and send it in a mailing tube. Then began the ordeal of trying to find a source her that could convert my funds to a money order in Canadian dollars. Trudy didn't have PayPal and our local bank couldn't provide the conversion. Western Union told me they could transfer the funds to her bank there, but after processing we discovered the information their phone clerk provided me was incorrect and Trudy's bank was unable to receive the funds from Western Union. So I had to cancel that and obtain a refund, and then as a last resort on November 8th, I went to my local post office and purchased an international money order in US dollars and mailed it to her, telling her to keep the extra money from the rate conversion as a handling fee when she cashed it at her bank. At that point I really didn't care what it cost or what I had to do, I wanted that print!!!
Trudy received my money order on November 15th and mailed the tube containing the precious print to me the next day, sending me a photo of it along with it's tracking number. Looking up the Canada Post tracking number showed that it was due to arrive here on November 29th. Their last entry on Nov. 21st showed it transferring through Canadian customs and into the US, and then they had no further information. I have been on pins and needles every day since, hoping and praying it would arrive safely.
Yesterday afternoon, right on schedule, our rural delivery mailman left a note in my highway mailbox stating that there was a package from Canada waiting for me at the post office... it had arrived!! As soon as our tiny town Post Office opened this morning I drove the four miles to retrieve it, and as soon as I had the tube in my car I sent a photo to Trudy showing her that it was here!
I couldn't wait to get home and open it! Carefully unrolling the large 18 x 24 print and laying it out on my bed I was overwhelmed with emotion, not only at it's tremendous beauty but because it was identical in every way to the original print I last had in my hands 40 years ago, same heavy paper stock, same warm brown ink tones, everything.
It is hard to explain how much this print means to me. It is not only a connection to that period of my life when I was pregnant with my daughter and married to her father, but it also holds personal symbolism in the form of my inner wild child holding firmly to the hand of God and trusting.
Tonight I gave John my post from 2013 to re-read, he remembered the story about the print, and then I told him the unbelievably wonderful story of how I was told about the new print and brought her out to show him. He likes it as much as I do, and understood immediately why it is such a priceless treasure to me. Tomorrow I will take her to Hobby Lobby for matting and framing and she will occupy the place of honor I have reserved for her in our living room where I can sit and look at her every day.
After forty years, life has come full circle, what was lost has been found, and I know that in the greater scheme of life this is heralding the ending of other things and the beginning of something new. Just for tonight, this beautiful little girl will be next to my bed, safely stored within the mailing tube, and I will smile and remember my life long ago, when I knew that she belonged with me and first brought her home. Welcome back little girl, welcome home! And a million thank yous to Kim, Sheila, and Trudy for making this happen... my heart is overflowing with gratitude!