Lum: In my land of the lost |

Lum: In my land of the lost

Su Lum

Every Saturday morning at 11:30, my sister and I would listen to the radio show “The Land of the Lost.” In each episode, the magical fish Red Lantern would guide little Billy and Isabel down to the bottom of the ocean where they would meet marvelous sea creatures and also would find some treasures that they had lost a long, long time ago.

“Oh, it’s my Lambkin,” Isabel would cry, spotting a tuft of wool peeking out from under a derelict anchor.

The show was so real you could almost taste the salt water, and what I wouldn’t give for a few minutes with Red Lantern right now to do a dive and collect all my lost stuff.

For instance, a couple of weeks ago, my jacket disappeared. This is my Melanzana jacket that I wear all winter unless it’s 10 below, in which case I wear a big down jacket or (better yet) stay inside under the covers.

Melanzana is that great fleece store in Leadville where all the jackets and shirts and pants are sewn by fleece elves at their machines right behind the counter. If the arms are too long — as they always are with anything I buy — they will hem them up then and there. A great store, as is my daughter Hillery and her husband Bruce’s antiques store, Western Hardware. Enough Leadville plugs (they are both on the main street, Harrison Avenue).

Anyway, I’d had this sweet fleece jacket for three or four years, and now it’s gone. I know I didn’t go somewhere and leave it because I haven’t been anywhere except the market, the post office and the library, and I don’t take my jacket off at any of these locations.

No, the jacket has run off to see the queen or jump over the moon, or it has run away with the dish and the spoon, and all I can do is wait patiently for it to reappear.

It’s not in the car. It’s not in any of the closets or drawers or under any beds. It’s gone.

This is nothing like the ordinary hide-and-go-seeks that have me chasing on a daily basis: the hunt for the distance glasses or the reading glasses or the hearing aids or the teeth. This is a fairly sizable piece of outerwear that is no doubt now snuggled under a giant squid under the sea in the land of the lost.

There was a time when my junk drawer contained one Phillips-head screwdriver and five or six regular screwdrivers. The last time I looked for a regular screwdriver, I was pawing through piles of Phillips-heads before I finally discovered one lone plain screwdriver.

Why? How? They had gone off with the missing socks to the land of the lost. Thank the Lord that those multiplying wire hangars are out of fashion — the plastic ones seem to stay put. Meanwhile, the fornicating, disappearing and birthing that goes on in the cabinet under my kitchen sink is something to behold.

But these things are small — they can scamper around. It was no stretch to find my fleece (Melanzana) cap in my sock drawer, but where the hell is my jacket?

I guess I should start putting ID tags on any items of clothing I might miss if they vanished. I can’t think of anything else right now, but I do miss that jacket.

Maybe a pack rat took it. Years ago, a pack rat took up residence in the motor compartment of the freezer in my back porch. While my dachshund Rufus menaced small children passing by in front, the pack rat was filling an inoperable old woodstove in back with clothespins and apples and then tucking in by the warm motor. A nice fleece jacket would be a significant find for a pack rat. I should be finding his replacement gifts any day. Or not.

Red Lantern, Red Lantern, hear my cry.

Su Lum is a longtime local who is guessing the jacket will turn up somewhere, probably in the spring. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at

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