There is a God.
And in fact there may well be a St Anthony too.
Last week I described the agony over the missing Linus shoe and my pact with the powers that be that I would do the right thing if it were returned to me.( lost and found)
Well get this.
Exactly a week after shoe-gate, a friend came over to visit for the day along with her eight-year-old son. In between games of football and superheroes (which somehow merged so that players could be temporarily frozen and therefore rendered unable to chase the ball, except Snooks of course, who was the Evil Genius Baby whose special powers meant that if he got his hands on the ball, it would be an end to the world as we know it) I told her the sorry tale of the lost shoe and the morally dubious acquisition of the substitute pair found on the wall.
The Engineer, incidentally, refused to take Snooks out in the pair found on the wall. He also (my harshest critic) made me take all the swear words out of last week’s post. “People will think you were in a bad mood when you wrote it,” he said. I bloody well was!
After she had left to make the journey back across London I visited the shop where I bought the original Linus shoes to see if another pair had miraculously appeared in stock since I last checked
I was still carrying the odd remaining shoe around with me, just in case the lost one turned up and I had to prove ownership, and so showed it to the shop assistant, inspiring her to go the extra mile and check if any other stores had them in that size.
There was one pair left, she said, on the other side of London, in Snooks’ size. They would keep them for 24 hours.
Now here was a coincidence, or if you prefer, evidence of the power of god/good, working in the world. The friend who had visited us that day just happened to live in the very place and by another flukey fact, I happened to be driving over there on other business later that night. If she could get to the shop before it closed and buy the shoes, I could pick them up on my way home and order would be restored to the universe.
My dear friend leapt into action, piling her poor young boy back into the car (having just made the one hour drive across the city) texting that she would contact me once the mission was accomplished.
By 10.30pm that night, I returned home with the shoes and waved them under the nose of the sleepy Engineer and the sleeping Snooks.
But hold on. Was St Anthony not supposed to find the old shoe, rather than magic up a new pair? This can hardly be held up as evidence of his existence, let alone his ability to deliver results.
Nevertheless, I decided to keep my side of the deal and replace the stripey foundlings on the wall, accepting that pragmatism sometimes has to fill in for the odd cosmic glitch or that perhaps St Anthony just had shares in a certain popular high street store.
And so it was that I left the house the next day to meet another friend, with the stripey foundlings and the old odd shoe in the bottom of the pram. It being forecast for rain, the precious new pair was safe and dry at home, still unworn.
Back at the site of the previous day’s Superhero Football, this friend and I were engaged in a game of Manic Hokey Cokey, which involved holding our boys by the wrists and flinging them at each other, while they squealed with excitement, when she mentioned that she had read last week’s shoe saga and thought she might have spotted the missing one on the other side of the common.
The only reason she had left it behind was because my post had lead her to believe that it had been lost in the café. Indeed, when writing, I had implied that it had been left behind during the commotion over the superbuggy incident. But as the good Engineer had grimly pointed out, this was really just my attempt to lay blame at the feet of the ubermum. The truth was, it could easily have fallen out of the bottom of the pram on the way home.
Sure enough when we got to it, the diddy shoe dangling from the metal fence was indeed the matching opposite to the one in my pram. A kind soul had tied it so securely that I had to wiggle the knot undone with the corkscrew of my Swiss Army penknife. It had been there for more than a week but was in perfect condition.
Oh the joy! I think there may have even been a tear. The friend, whose son is the same age and size as Snooks, offered to buy the new pair and the circle was complete. Almost.
On the way home I left the foundling stripeys, improved by a spin in the washing machine, at their place on the wall with another prayer to St Anthony that they would be found by the mum who had lost them.
As I continued home, I thought about my latest favourite novel, Vernon God Little which as the title suggests, is about how god isn’t ‘up there’ but amongst us, down here.
And I gratefully thanked the god in my friends, for being my friends, for listening to me, for bothering to read this blog and for going out of their way to help me.