Twice recently I’ve been reminded of Mother’s
advice: "Don’t cry over spilled milk." Spilled
milk is gone forever, and all you can do about it is to clean it
up, forget it and move forward. This morning, I was loading
fragile, dry pottery pieces into the kiln and broke a pitcher on
which I had sprigged, or appliquÈd, an apple, stem and leaf. I
tossed it into the bucket of dry scrap and went on with my work.
A previous "spilled milk" episode happened when my
young friend, Amy Power, drove as we toured in Kentucky, West
Virginia and Virginia. Our objectives were to visit ancestral
haunts in Kentucky and to "put at least one foot on the
Appalachian Trail." We chose Redfish entry port, southeast
of Staunton, Va., as the spot where we’d visit the trail.
Amy donned the proper gear and walked the trail on Friday
morning. I studied a huge, three dimensional diorama of the
entire trail from Maine to Georgia at the visitors’ center.
Hikers sign in and out there, for safety’s sake; five people
signed in when the office opened at 9 a.m. While Amy walked, I
visited the unique craft and gift shop, read a bit and was dozing
when she returned. I purchased an old Virginia Ham at the shop
because I recalled competition from years past about whether
Boone County country hams were better than Virginia’s.
A minor problem started as we descended a mountain road that
was so crooked and steep that a sign warned, "All vehicles
shift to low gear." Hairpin curves on narrow Highway 56 had
almost no stopping places, but we smelled the brakes and soon saw
smoke. Amy, an excellent driver, crowded to the edge at a curve
The smoke soon ended, but we stayed on to have a snack. As I
shut my door to go, I spilled cola on the floor mat. I grabbed a
newspaper and crumpled it to absorb the mess, then opened the
door and sat my wet purse outside while I dried the floor and my
shoes. Farther on a sign said, "3/4 mile more ..." We
were started back to Missouri with two days of driving ahead and
happy that the brakes were working normally.
At the Charleston, Va., motel, my purse was not in the car! It
couldn’t have been stolen. An hour later Amy said,
"What about that spilled cola?"
"That’s it!" I said. She wasn’t aware that
I had set the purse on the gravel at roadside. It was gone.
Money, traveler’s checks, ATM card, Social Security,
Medicare everything. I was totally dependent on Amy.
"I’ll never see it again," I said. My only hope
was that the world was full of wonderful, honest people. I called
American Express and gave numbers on three checks I carried for
emergencies. Mom’s advice came to mind at once.
"Don’t cry over spilled milk!" She would have
said, "It’s gone, enjoy the trip!"
On Sunday afternoon, Amy helped me unload, and she looked
beyond me and read a note on my door: "Your purse has been
found intact, by a nice couple named Dennis and Betty Sutton of
Vesuvius, Va., and they’ll ship it on Monday or
Tuesday." I called them at once.
In a delightful southern accent, Betty told me, "We drive
that road almost every day and spied your purse. Why
it’s open!’ Dennis said." The purse arrived in
The world is full of wonderful people; they just don’t
always make the headlines!