The Coffee Cup Caper…….

In my last blog, I discussed the ramifications of a slowly fading memory as it relates to the “golden years”. As an example of my own battle with short term memory issues, I mentioned the disappearing coffee cup, a concern only in that said cup was a handmade, ceramic masterpiece given to me by a family member who knows that I am addicted to coffee and ritual. After much reflection, I came to the conclusion the cup was carelessly left at roadside in the RV park we are staying in, while I was preoccupied with the task of picking up after Tazzy. Being the trained investigator that I am, I stopped at the park office to inquire if someone might have retrieved the cup, recognized it’s value and turned it in to them for safekeeping. In this case, intuition paid off.

When I walked into the office, the counter was staffed by two uniformed, park employees, both younger men who could not have been more concerned. I directed my inquiry to the young man closest to the register, who was genuinely sympathetic as he offered to drive around and look for my cup. The second young man was listening to our exchange and in a minute or so, sheepishly looked me in the eyes and announced he knew where the cup was. He went on to say he had seen the cup at roadside, gathered it up and thrown it into one of the dumpsters in the park. Not good. He went on to say that he always threw trash into the middle of three dumpsters, to which the first young man offered to go look through for me. I have, in the course of my employment as a trooper, looked through exactly two dumpsters for items of evidentiary value. I will never forget either experience and felt it best that I tackle this job, sparing my new young friend the images he would see that would likely scar him for life.

I stopped at our RV and told Sharon about my plans to recover the cup and she agreed to accompany me to the dumpster, I am guessing to be present when I failed to emerge after sorting through the disgusting contents. The first young man, Corey, was already standing in the dumpster sorting the various bags of garbage into ones discarded by patrons and those, in a unique bag, that were deposited by park employees. I again suggested that he not bother with this task, talked him out of the dumpster and hopped in myself. I now have THREE images of dumpsters seared into my brain. My search did not produce the cup and as I climbed out, Corey returned with a box of flimsy, food service gloves, and told me the cup had been tossed in loose, not in a bag. Corey climbed back into the dumpster, as we needed to work down to the bottom where things really get interesting. (I fully intend to send Corey a box of heavy, nitrile gloves upon our return to Missouri, in the unlikely event he needs to again engage in a disgusting activity in their lovely park.) On the very bottom of the dumpster, in indescribable, gagging, horrid muck, the cup was located. As I write, I am enjoying coffee out of the cup, which still tastes a little like the Clorox it was soaked in for an hour or so, before being brush scrubbed.

What is the takeaway here? First, I must acknowledge the service oriented, concerned attitude of Corey Potter. It was a damned coffee cup, an item that was important only to me for the reasons noted above. He was determined in his efforts to help me find where, if possible, the cup was. Secondly, my hat is off to Mathew Locklear, who could have sat quietly and never volunteered his complicity in the discarding of the cup. In these times, the order of the day is the path of least resistance, and Mathew chose honesty over this avenue. The owner of this park has two exceptional employees in these fellows and I am smiling as I draft this piece. This is a relatively new park, absolutely gorgeous and in an ideal location to enjoy all that Myrtle Beach has to offer with it’s quiet location on the edge of the beach hustle that folks come to enjoy.

Corey Potter and me, with “The Cup”.

Thanks, guys. The cup caper is a story that will be retold time and again. It would have been easy to blow this incident off, but you did not. It is the little things that matter, do them well and the big things will be easy!

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