The Case of the Missing Flip-flops



Sometimes I imagine this scenario in my mind:

Two little boys living at 4110 Tesota Dr. are trying to dig their way to China out in their backyard where the old swimming pool used to be.  Imagine their surprise when their shovels hit something soft. 

“What is it?” the boy asks.
“It’s feels like rubber,” the other one says.
“Let’s take it in to Mom.”

Their mother looks at their unearthed treasure and says, “It looks like the kind of flip-flops we used to wear 25 years ago when I was a little girl.”  As she throws away the decayed green shoes in the garbage she thinks to herself, why would anyone bury a pair of their own sandals?


The day they dropped the pool into the ground. 
1978 was an exciting year.  It was the year we got our swimming pool. We were taking swimming lessons from a neighbor who lived on Tamarisk.  We had construction workers at our house everyday; one was even scared of tarantulas.  A huge crane almost dropped our pool onto our neighbor’s house, the Muellers.  But the most exciting part was that we had two huge mounds of dirt (oops I mean soil, sorry Dad) waiting to be used as backfill for the pool.


These mounds provided hours of entertainment for Kristi and me.  One of the games we invented involved burying things for each other to find.  We each went to our respective pile and buried something.  Then we switched and tried to uncover what the other had hidden.

“I have an idea,” I said one day.  “Let’s bury each other’s shoes.”

These weren’t just any shoes.  These were our almost-brand-new flip-flops that Mom had bought us at Thrift Town.  Thrift Town was the only store where you could buy cones for only 15 cents—the scoops were in the shape of hockey pucks.  One day Mom let us pick out some flip-flops, green for Kristi and blue for me.  I loved these sandals because they were for our new pool!

“Okay,” Kristi said hesitantly.

As I began the task of hiding Kristi’s shoes, I decided I was going to really give her a challenge.  I dug way deep into the pile before placing those green sandals into the sand.  Little did I know that would be the last time I would ever see those flip-flops.

It was time to switch places.  Mine weren’t hard at all to discover and I quickly found my blue flip-flops.  Kristi was still looking; I had won!  Kristi was still looking, and looking and looking.  Finally I took pity on her and decided to show her where I had buried hers.  I showed her the spot where I had buried them and we both began to dig, and dig, and dig, and dig.  No shoes!

“We are going to be in so much trouble,” Kristi said. 
“We’ll find them,” I said.
Finally after both of us were covered in dust head to toe, we decided to give up.
“Give me your shoes,” Kristi said.
“What? I’m not giving you my shoes!”
“You owe me your shoes because you lost mine.”
“I didn’t lose your shoes, you just couldn’t find them.” With logic like that how did I ever win debate tournaments?
“I couldn’t find them because you hid them too well!”
“I have an idea,” I said.  “Tomorrow they are going to use this pile of sand to fill in around the pool.  Let’s make sure we are out here to watch and as they uncover your flip-flops, we’ll grab them before they can go into hole.”

The next day, Kristi and I anxiously stood next to the men as they backfilled around the pool. 

Mom probably had no idea why we wanted to watch them work. 

With each new shovelful our hopes would rise, looking for something green to emerge; only to fall again as it was thrown into the huge hole below.  As the last of the pile was being scraped off the lawn reality hit.  Those green flip-flops were gone!

We agreed to share the remaining blue pair for the rest of that summer.  Mom, Dad, now you know what happened to that missing pair of flip-flops!




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