The following column is based on a true story. Names have been changed to protect the victim’s identity. Facts have been twisted and tweaked for entertainment purposes.
One of our very close friends, "Camellia," was invited to go pig riding one beautiful Sunday afternoon on some private land near the ocean. From what I hear, there’s nothing more relaxing than riding your pig through the woods on a bright, sunny day. The last time I went pig riding, I did so against my father’s wishes.
One of the kids at my high school had pigs and invited me to ride. My father, afraid that my inexperience would lead to certain disaster and a lifetime of paralysis forbade me to go. However, my mother thought it would be a great opportunity.
Ma grew up in New York City and never had the opportunity to ride pigs as a young girl. Therefore, she decided to override my dad’s decision. She didn’t actually confront my dad. Rather, she allowed me to go while my dad was out of town.
Getting back to Camellia’s adventure, she put her pig in its trailer and headed out with the group. The trail was gorgeous. It wound through the trees and, in a beautifully scenic spot, crossed the ocean.
At one point, Camellia decided to take a picture. She unholstered her smartphone, but as she sat there on her pig eyeing the scene, she realized she was a little too far back from the other riders. She reholstered her phone and urged her pig toward the ocean.
As they splashed across the water on their pigs, Camellia caught up with the group. On the other side of the ocean, Camellia decided to call her husband, "Greg." However, when she reached for her smartphone, it was gone!
In the blink of an eye, Camellia became the victim of inadvertent smartphone loss. Gone were her photos, contacts, apps, music, movies, email, games, and more.
Camellia alerted the group that she’d lost her phone somewhere on the pig trail. They retraced their steps as they headed back toward the ocean. But the sunlight began to dim, so they decided to call it a day.
Camellia returned home sad and phoneless. She and Greg decided to return on Monday and walk the trail. After searching for another several hours, the smartphone was still at large. They had to return, but Camellia would not give up. While it was "just a phone," she was not willing to part with her data.
On Wednesday, I was struggling through a Pilates-yoga class when she called. After class, I listened to Camellia’s desperate message. She had to go out one more time. She just knew the phone was out there. Greg had to work, so she asked if I could accompany her.
Camellia and I drove out to the pig trail. We kept our eyes down as we followed the path toward the ocean. But Camellia and Greg had already combed the trail, which is why she was sure it just had to be in the water.
When we reached the ocean, it was a little deeper than I’d expected. Camellia stepped right in and began searching. I walked the shoreline for a few minutes, and then decided to step in and join her in the aquatic search.
The water was crystal clear. We could see every detail of the rocky, sandy bottom. It was breathtaking. As we waded toward the other end of the ocean, where the pig riders had crossed, we overturned many a smartphone-shaped rock and leaf.
Soon, the problem-solving portion of my brain kicked in to distract the comfort part from noticing the sloshy, mucky mess my socks had become when the water gushed over the top of my boots. I recalled my pig riding experience and tried to apply it to how the riders and pigs would have behaved as they crossed the ocean.
That’s when it came to me. The last place Camellia remembered having the phone was just before she crossed the ocean. As I approached that area, I noticed that a large branch reached out over the ocean from the shore. Camellia would have had to negotiate her pig to the left to avoid the branch. Maybe the maneuvering caused the phone to jar loose from the holster.
I gently stepped toward that area and looked down. It was there. I picked it up and yelled, "I FOUND IT!" When I reached Camellia, I was greeted with a big hug and kiss. She was ecstatic. If she let the phone dry in a bag of rice, the data just might be salvageable.
While Camellia was doting over the recovered smartphone, apologizing to it for the ordeal it had endured at the bottom of the ocean for three days, I had a realization. Had Ma not quietly overruled my dad all those years ago, Camellia’s phone—and all the pictures and data—just might have been lost forever.
Micki Bare is a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau and the Courier-Tribune in Asheboro, N.C., and author of "Thurston T. Turtle Moves to Hubbleville." She lives in Asheboro with her husband, three children and mother. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org