I remember the first time I asked St. Anthony for intercession. I was around 5 or 6 years old. I can't remember what I lost, but I remember EXACTLY where I found it in my backyard. He has been faithful to my desperate please ever since that moment, including the 3 times I've lost my engagement ring (sorry, Phil!). But, this story really exceeds them all! About 2 weeks ago, the kids and I went to the library for story time. (I should give a disclaimer here...if you're not into details, this story will probably bore you to tears, but it's one I want to remember, so it's going on the blog =). I unloaded the van of children, library books, and DVD rentals. I put my keys in their proper side pouch of the diaper bag, and we headed inside. About halfway through story time, Rachel takes my keys out of the bag and starts eating them, so I take them away from her, and put them in the larger, zippered portion of the bag, where most things get lost in the abyss. At the end of our visit, we go up to the counter to wait in line to check out our books. I placed my books on the counter, with my keys right next to them (I have one of of those little rectangular library cards that go on your key chain, which is why I took my keys out in the first place). Now, this is a small town library, and I knew everyone in the library, so I wasn't paying that close attention at this point...Natalie had to go to the bathroom, Rachel kept trying to climb out my arms so she could un-shelve each and every book in the library, and Andrew was trying to scale the counter so he could stamp our books with the due date (sometimes the librarians let the kids do this when no one else is there...one of the very nice things about small town libraries =). So, needless to say, I was starting to sweat, and I'm sure my hair looked pretty disheveled at this point. By the time my turn was over (I was third in line), and the librarian had checked out and packed all my books in a bag for us, my keys had disappeared. They were NO WHERE. We looked everywhere. I emptied my diaper bags no less than 10 times, and we checked every nook and cranny of the desk area. The librarians even called the two people who were in line in front to me to see if they had accidentally picked up my keys (again, I can't say enough about small town libraries!). At this point, I'm pretty sure they thought I was crazy, and that I had locked my keys in my van, but I was 100% positive that I had brought them in the library...Rachel tried to eat them earlier, remember?! I immediately sent up a quick prayer to St. Anthony, and continued to do so throughout the rest of this saga. So, anyway, at this point, it's almost lunch time, our blood sugar is starting to drop dangerously low (like 'yelling at the kids for every little thing' low), and I'm close to tears. I call Phil, and he lets me know that he has no idea where my keys are, either...thanks, a lot! So, I call my neighbor and have her pillage my home in search of our spare key...naturally, it is no where in my house. Now, I'm really close to breaking down. She asks me when the last time I had the spare was...I tell her that the last time I had the key, I had loaned it to our cousin (whose shall remain nameless for charity's sake) who had ran out of gas a mile from our house. I was "positive" he gave me the key back when he was done borrowing our van to go get gas for his car. So, I'm stuck at the library, with no keys, no spare keys, three starving children, and no car seats...excellent. I ended up just having my neighbor come pick us up, and prayed the whole way home that we would not get pulled over or in an accident with all three kids not in their car seats. After I turned the house upside down for the spare key, and didn't find it, I finally swallowed my pride and called my cousin: "Hey, you remember that time you ran out of gas, and I loaned you the van with the spare key?" Cousin: "Oh yeah, the spare is sitting right here in my console...been meaning to get that back to you." Me: "....fantastic..." Long story short, he brings me the spare, gives me a ride to the library to get the van while the neighbor babysits, and we've managed to eat something and calm down a bit, so things are starting to get better. Ok...fast forward a week and a half. We go back to the library, and the librarians ask if I've found my keys...no, I have not....they still haven't found them either. We conclude that the keys are probably in the same place that missing socks are. So, after we are done reading books and building puzzles, we go checkout our stuff...low and behold, there is a note on my account: "patron has keys being held for her at another branch that is about an hour away from branch that we are currently at". WHAT?!?! Turns out, my keys managed to end up in the parking lot of ANOTHER branch of the parish library...about an hour away from our local branch (oh, and for you non-Louisiana people, a parish is pretty much the same thing as a county...whatever that is). I have NO IDEA how they ended up in that parking lot, but that is why I just LOVE St. Anthony! Never underestimate the power of intercessory prayer!
Sancte Antoni, Ora Pro Nobis!!!