Once upon a time, our family owned a bocce set. It consisted of four red and four blue bocce balls and one yellow Pallino ball—tucked away in a red nylon carrying case.
Our bocce set was like a longtime friend. I don’t remember when or how it came into our lives. It just always seemed to be with us—until it wasn’t.
Misplacing a bocce set is not as disastrous as losing car keys or a phone, but it is perplexing. A bright red nylon case that’s big enough to house eight bocce balls should be easy to spot.
I get angry with myself when I lose things. It’s frustrating. It’s unnerving. It’s embarrassing.
I thought my husband was the only person privy to my tendency to misplace my keys and phone—until our daughter Jordan gave me a TILE® for Christmas. A TILE® is a small square Bluetooth device that slides onto a keychain or sticks to phones, tablets and anything else one might lose.
Using the corresponding app, one can track down misplaced items. It’s a pretty reliable gadget. I should know.
Too bad it never occurred to me to attach a similar tracking device to our bocce set.
We discovered the set missing on our first trip to the beach after moving from our “this ole house.” We set up camp—chairs, beach towels, and paddleball. No red bag.
In our family, sand without bocce is like a milkshake minus a straw.
In the absence of everything bocce, Gary and I adopted a new game called “Bocce, bocce, where is the bocce?”
“Did you pack the bocce set,” I asked Gary.
“No. I thought you packed it,” he said.
That’s how the game unfolded. For weeks that turned into months, we assumed the roles of mockingbirds.
“Have you seen the bocce?” and “No. Have you seen the bocce?”
“Maybe one of the kids has it” and “I’ll bet one of the kids has it.”
“I can’t remember if I loaned it to someone” and “I don’t believe I loaned it to anyone.”
Like a neglectful Words With Friends opponent, we would forget about the missing game until the next picnic or beach trip.
“Any chance you gave it away?” and “I’m certain I didn’t give it away.”
“I don’t remember seeing it in the cellar” and “I don’t remember seeing it in the garage.”
I suggested we buy a new set.
Next thing we knew, we had collapsed to our knees in the sporting goods aisle. What we didn’t know: Bocce balls vary in color AND size.
Two sets. Two sizes.
“Let’s open them to get a better look,” I said.
“We can’t do that,” Gary whispered.
“Yes we can,” I said. “Very carefully.”
We slid the bags out of their corresponding boxes only to find cardboard concealing the contents—secured by tape.
“They’re taped,” said Gary.
“Use your knife,” I said.
He didn’t want to. He really didn’t. But, with the deft hand of a veterinary surgeon, my husband sliced through the tape.
Both balls were double-wrapped in plastic. Ugh.
One appeared too big and the other too small. We re-sealed the contents and returned home—empty-handed.
I proposed we take a look in the cellar before I ordered an in-between set.
Ten minutes later, our months-long game ended.
During all the time we spent mimicking one another, we each assumed the other had actually looked for the missing bocce bag.
Bocce, bocce, where is the bocce? In the red nylon bag behind the fan in the cellar, that’s where.
And all is right with our world.