Paper Clips. Who could have guessed it would be paper clips?

Paper clips.  Who could have guessed
that paper clips would become
my talisman? Two years ago I needed one.
There were none to be found
in my entire home. I took a break
from my paper clip search to run errands.
A few hours later my car was stalled –
bum alternator – and I was waiting
for a tow truck. A few hours more –
after many wonderful adventures
and new heroes and friends met –
and I was picking up my car
from the repair shop when I looked
down and saw a paper clip winking
up at me from the pavement.  A symbol
of prayers answered. A symbol of supply.
A symbol of protection. A reminder
to trust.  A wink to make me laugh out loud.

And it has been paper clips ever since:
On the floor of my dad’s doctor’s office;
on the stairs at work during a challenging day;
on a sidewalk as I grieved Mom’s passing.

Just when I feel the most alone,
and the most bereft, a paper clip will appear
to remind me that I am always connected
to Love. A paper clip will appear to bring
me a smile and a lift to my heart.

Paper clips. Who could have guessed
it would be paper clips?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
yellow paper clipP.S. I found an interesting article on the invention of the paper clip.  The article states: “During the Nazi occupation of Norway in World War II, Norwegians made the paper clip a symbol of national unity. Prohibited from wearing buttons imprinted with the Norwegian king’s initials, they fastened paper clips to their lapels in a show of solidarity and opposition to the occupation. Wearing a paper clip was often reason enough for arrest.”

Wow! Hail to the humble paper clip!

The Saga of the Paper Clip and the Alternator

This morning I was rooting around for a little paper clip to attach one paper to another paper that I needed to send in to a very formal, officious organization. And alas! There were no little paper clips to be found. In the entire house. Anywhere. Trust me, one does not appreciate the value of paper clips until there are none to be found.

Skip forward a few hours: My car and I are now plodding our way through Bellingham in search of a parking space. My prospects do not look promising. I had not realized that I had made my semi-annual hair appointment in Bellingham on the day that Fairhaven celebrates Dirty Dan Day.

As I was just about to exit a parking lot my car’s power suddenly clicked off – no steering, no brakes, no anything – I managed to make it through the exit lane – I didn’t want to clog anyone up in the parking lot. I cranked the wheel hard to the right so I could move the car off to the side a little, and pulled up on the emergency brake to keep my car from rolling into cross traffic.

A gentleman named Jose and his wife were sitting in a car near by and he heard the sound my car made when I tried to start it up again. He recognized that telltale click. Jose and his wife came over to help. Jose suggested that I either had a bad battery or a bum alternator. After tinkering around under the hood for awhile, he was pretty sure my alternator had gone kapooey. He asked me if I had triple A. I said no. American Express? No. Then he asked me if my car insurance covered roadside service. We switched insurance companies just a couple months ago and I wasn’t sure if we had roadside service or not, but a quick look at my insurance card seemed to indicate we did. I called the insurance company and sure enough! – my car could be towed for free!

I thanked Jose and his wife for their support – gave his wife a hug – and settled in to wait for the tow truck. As I waited at least a dozen people stopped to ask me if I needed help or if they could do anything for me. Bellingham is full of the best kind of people. 🙂

A man named Sean, wearing a neck brace, came up to chat. I asked him about the brace. He said he wore it to pick up chicks, and asked me how it was working. I started cracking up. Then he told me what had actually happened – he’d been hanging upside down from the rafters at a party (“Of course you were,” I responded – duh, right?) and fell head-first into a metal box. The metal box broke his fall a little. He said he broke his neck and was thanking “the lord every day” that he could walk and was still alive. He called his experience “a miracle.”

When the tow truck arrived, little Riley came by with his folks and a fistful of balloons to watch the tow truck hoist my car onto its bed.. I got a picture of Riley posing with the tow truck. It was so fun to see him enjoying the show.

My little car looked so forlorn and embarrassed sitting on the bed of the tow truck. I felt kind of bad for it. But I would not be looking for a parking place for it, and that was kind of cool.

At the end of the day my husband and the sons drove up to eat dinner with me in Bellingham, and then to drop me off at the Shell Station (which actually still has a full service mechanic station – just like in the olden days!) to pick up my car. As I was getting in my car to drive it away I happened to look down on the pavement and guess what I saw?!!

Yup. A little paper clip. And you can bet your bippy that I picked it up!