I discovered it was missing when we stopped for a cup of hot cider. I rummaged through all my pockets. B checked her pockets, just in case I somehow gave it to her for safekeeping. We trudged back up the hill and searched through the trees, brushed over the ground, peered along the path. All to no avail.
It was a long shot anyway. You couldn't expect to find your camera that you dropped "somewhere" up on a hill crowded with Christmas trees and a couple of hundred would-be lumberjacks. Yes, I left my name and number at the office, just in case, but I knew it was nothing but a desperate move.
And so to the "Christmas miracle." The day before yesterday our telephone rang. (Yes, we still have a land line.) It was a woman from the Christmas tree farm. Someone had turned in a camera. Was it mine?
"A Canon Powershot?" I asked.
"Yes, that's right."
"You've got it," the woman replied. "I can't mail it to you, but you can come by and pick it up anytime. We're open every day."
And so yesterday B and I drove up to the Christmas tree farm, picked up my camera, drank another cup of cider, and stopped at the mall on the way home. We were in a very generous mood and so we bought lots of presents. (Besides, this year at least, everything is on sale.) We wanted to pass on our good fortune to our loved ones.