"It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait. At any rate after a short halt go on he did..."
"Where's My Combat Rosary!?!"
It is our first full day on our family vacation. After being imprisoned far too long in our little area due to COVID regulations, we are bursting at the seems to traverse and climb the Rocky Mountains. But first, a night in Drumheller, Alberta.
The scenery is stunning, yet we are perhaps too excited to see the mountains to give Drumheller its due respects. Also of note, we are a little rusty at camping. It's been a few years since we went on a major trip. This being the first full day, we are disheveled already, and misplacing items left and right.
Never mind. It is morning, and before we pack up the campsite I decide to go for a quick jog. I take out my combat rosary, place it on the picnic table at our site, and head out for some exercise throughout the stunning landscape. What a beautiful place. Alas, I return, and our packing up begins in haste. Soon enough we head into the van, eager to hit the highway.
Suddenly I slam on the brakes! "Where's my combat rosary!?!"
My combat rosary! Yes, they are expensive rosaries, though well built and worth every penny. But more than that, this rosary is special to me. It sits in my pocket every day. It looks like a weapon with its gun-metal appearance. It feels like a weapon when you hold it. It sounds like a weapon when it clinks in your pocket. More to the point, it is a weapon - the greatest of weapons - and it is used to help keep my family and I living in God's grace.
"Did you pick it up off the picnic table?" I ask my wife, trying not to sound alarmed.
"No. I didn't touch it," she counters.
"Did any of you see my combat rosary?" I ask the kids.
"I think I saw Jude with it," comes the reply from our seven-year-old.
Oh no! Not Jude! Our lovable one-year-old boy. He's great. A barrel of laughs and more. He's even a little charmer at times. But... not Jude!
With visions of my special rosary tossed deep into the bush, never to be found again, I race the van back to the campsite. Immediately my wife and I jump out. So too comes our oldest son, a responsible nine-year-old if ever there was one. We go directly to the picnic table and stare the table up and down with horror. The rosary is not there. It's gone! We start pacing all around the campsite. The grass is thick, and it reveals nothing. With prayers pounding out to Our Lady and St. Anthony, we search the bush... the nearby road... everything. It's not there. The rosary is gone. I groan in disgust.
"Well Mary, please let someone who needs this rosary be the one to find it," I murmur.
We drag our feet back to the van. With regret at the loss, we take one last glance at the picnic table.
Our mouths drop. There, sitting perfectly shining and obvious on the picnic table, is my combat rosary.
"But... but... we looked here! I know we did. It's where we went first," I stammer quietly.
My wife, equally stunned, adds, "I know we did. I know it wasn't there!"
* * *
I suppose it's easy to say that we simply didn't see the rosary the first time. Yes, I suppose that is the answer one should believe, and then move on. But we know what we didn't see. And we know what we saw very clearly afterwards.
I have my combat rosary here with me now. God grant me many more rosaries to be prayed using it. For it is my weapon.
Enjoying Drumheller, Alberta - a place I shall not soon forget.
* * *
Millette is a husband, father, educator, and author of Disconnected: The Broken Path, now available on Amazon.
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