Woman: (smiling) Hi!. You can go right through.
Me: Thanks. My parents are in the car behind us. If I pay for their day pass, can you give it to them?
Transaction complete, we drive into the parking lot.
Henry: Why did you just do that?
Me: Do what?
Henry: Pay for Grandma and Grandpa.
Me: They came all the way to see us. It's the least we can do.
Henry: But they should pay for their own car.
Erin: But doesn't it feel nice to do something for other people? It's good karma.
Henry: What's karma?
Erin: It's the idea that the good things you do in life will eventually come back to you.
Henry: (not convinced) Huh.
Other than when my dad punches me in the arm as a thank-you, we don't think of this again.
It's the next day. It's sunny. Darn it, we're going back to the beach. We're in the car approaching the gate.
Erin: Hey, where's the pass?
I look to the rear-view mirror. It's gone.
Me: Maybe it fell under the seats.
I look. It didn't.
Erin: I guess someone stole it.
Henry: Stole it! Why would they do that?
He's very mad. I'm a little miffed myself. The words we choose to calm him down are just as important for me to hear as they are for him.
Erin: We can't let this bother us. Someone obviously needed it, or they needed the money. I hope they enjoy it.
Henry: That's dumb. It was ours.
Me: It's not dumb. We came to the beach every sunny day this summer. I think we got our money's worth.
Henry: (grumbling) People shouldn't steal.
Me: It's true. They shouldn't. But we can either be mad about it all day, or we can enjoy a day at the beach.
We all choose the latter. It is a beautiful day. We run into great friends. We have a blast. It's only later, at supper, that Erin reminds me of our discussion the day before about karma.
Me: (smiling) I think karma has a healthy sense of irony.
Postscript: I tweeted about our stolen pass, and was contacted immediately by the fine folks at Parks Canada. After a few messages back and forth with our new best pal Frances, we have a replacement pass. I truly feel we'd wrung our money's worth out of the pass even before it was stolen, but now we'll be able to keep enjoying the park -- the beach, the trails, everything. Thank-you, Frances!
I'm on the phone with Erin.
Erin: What's the name of the woman who helped us get a new pass?
Me: Frances Gertsch.
Erin: That's the best name ever.