Who is Nate?

It was the Sunday after Remembrance Day; a cold, crisp, sunny but windy weekend. It looked inviting from a viewpoint of a cozy couch, but I knew the wind would be mercilessly biting through my clothes, especially my woolen mitts. I knew I had to take my dog for a walk and already dreaded the thought. Maybe he would forget his daily routine and have mercy on me… fat chance! He has a built-in clock and after lunch, he was ready… Hypnotic stare and restless walks, back and forth to the door. His expression asked, “What’s the matter with you?”

Alright! I gave myself a push, and out we went. The wind was brutal and I planned only a short walk, along the power station, around the arena and back over the ballfield.

It is an ingrained habit of mine, I always carry bags with me, one for poop to scoop, and one for the mess that litterers throw away, such as cigarette packs, Timmy cups, and wrappings of all sorts. On my way back in the far distance, actually in the middle of the sports field, I noticed a white piece of paper. It stuck out like a “sore thumb”. Mickey and I walked over to pick it up and I automatically was going to stuff it in my garbage bag, when I realized it was a small sealed envelope. Maybe a child’s birthday card?

My interest was alerted. Let’s see what kids these days write. My fingers were numb from the cold and I stuffed it in my coat pocket. In the warmth of my home, making a cup of tea, I inspected this little damp envelope. It even had a name, ‘Nate’ it said. As I opened it, a pretty card with forty dollars fell out. Wow!

My immediate reaction when I find money is always to send a deepfelt thank you from the bottom of my heart to whoever let me find it. In my life as a ‘garbologist’ I have found money from $100USD, 5 Scottish pounds, 10’s, 20’s and 5’s, to coins of all kinds of countries and denominations; in curbs, ditches, gutters and grass, even a Japanese coin with a tiny square hole in the middle.

My thankful rejoicing came to a sudden stop when I read the short note on the inside of the card,


Thank you for taking such good care of Spot.

Angela, Mike, Ava, and Ella.”

Who in the world are those people? My mission now became to find the mysterious writer and donor, or Nate (remember my dad was a criminal investigator, an expert in dactyloscopy to be precise). But there were no fingerprints on the card… at least not to the naked eye. For days I asked everybody I met, “Do you know a family with these names?” Teachers, principals, neighbours… By Thursday, my last attempt was to call hockey coaches and a dance instructor at the Community Centre, somehow there must be a connection.

I started by calling Samatha, our “Prima Ballerina” who teaches dance classes. Maybe she would know Ava and Ella amongst her ‘munchkins’. Unfortunately, I could only talk to her answering machine, but left the question about the two names and my telephone number.

A few hours later, her husband called back and said, “Yes, we have an Ella, but no Ava. But I will ask Sam when she comes home.” And so it was. Friday, he called back and said that after talking to Sam, and explaining the situation; at first she shook her head, but then almost like a lightbulb switched on, she said, “I know those people, they are from Chapleau. They come every Saturday with their daughters, Ava and Ella. I will give them Karin’s number.”

Sure enough on Saturday morning, my phone rang, and a friendly female voice introduced herself as Angela, and yes, she lost the envelope, but only missed it yesterday. She had put it on top of a Kleenex box and it wasn’t there anymore. She said she was at the dance lessons and asked for my address, but since I live right behind the facility, I volunteered to drop it off there.

We met between the doors where everybody has to take off their shoes, and since we represented a ‘doorstopper’ our greetings and conversation were kept short. My burning questions “Who was Spot? Cat or dog? And who is Nate?” Angela laughed and said, “Spot is our guinea pig, and Nate is our 14-year-old neighbour. He was so good! We went away for a week and he looked after Spot, he even cleaned his cage…”

We would have talked for hours over a cup of tea, but important for me was that I finally found the rightful owner, well-deserved, after almost a week of searching.

Karin Grundt
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