Karma. Then Irony. Then karma again.

We're in the car. We're wearing bathing suits. We pull up to the gate at Prince Edward Island National Park, just outside Brackley Beach. The woman in the booth notices we already have an annual family pass dangling from our rear-view mirror.

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?

Woman: Sure!

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!

Other postscript:

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.


auntie said...

I used to work with someone from PEI. Both her parents were named Frances. Well actually one was Francis with an "i" and they were known as Fran and Frank. I always thought that was kind of interesting until I met the two Kay(e)s :-)

just us said...

I know two Hillarries ('Hillary' and 'Hilary'); they married into the same family.