Because my sister is awesome, she surprised me and came to visit in South Africa for my first birthday after our mom had died.  She knew it would be a hard one, and wanted to make it as good as possible.

She had visited twice before, but we had never taken her further than the suburbs of Cape Town.  This time, I wanted to show her Hermanus, a sleepy tourist town along the southern coast of South Africa.




On the way, we stopped off at Betty’s Bay to see the penguins on the beach.

As soon as we pulled into the gravel parking lot, my daughter excitedly jumped out of the car, fell, and skinned her hands on the gravel.  I reached into the cooler to get a bottle of water to wash off her palms while my sister took the boys to the path.




We walked along the boardwalk, talking to the penguins, breathing in the salty ocean air, scouring the waves for signs of whales.







Back at the car, I reached into my pocket and realized with much angst that my car key had come off my key ring and had separated from the remote for the car.  I had the remote and could open the car, but no car key to start the ignition.

It could have been anywhere.  We had literally walked for almost an hour on the boardwalk before going back to the car.

I left my sister in the car with the kids and went scouring the parking lot, path, boardwalk.  I asked everyone I passed if they had seen a car key.

Nobody had.

We were an hour and a half from home, and my husband was at work with no vehicle.  After looking everywhere for almost an hour, I called him in desperation, convinced he would have to borrow a car to bring us the spare key.

Then, my sister reached into the cooler and pulled out the car key.  It must have slipped inside when I reached to get water for my daughter’s bloody palms.

And I’ve never been more grateful to find a key.


This is Day 23 of 31 Days of Life in South Africa — a series in which every post has been written in five minutes.  For the rest of the posts in this series, click here.


3 thoughts on “searching for the key {day 23 :: look}

  1. What a great surprise visit! Sounds as though you had a wonderful time, and those penguins are so cute. How do they react to humans? Are you able to get close, or did you use a zoom lens to take this picture?

    Glad you found your key! I’ve locked my keys in the car, so I have an idea what this is like!

  2. Totally believable story. Reminds me of your mom and her adventures.

    I once got a call from Uncle John. He was at a restaurant and couldn’t find his car keys. I had a spare key for his car and went to help him out. As we were walking out to the car I could hear keys jingling every time he took a step. Turned out he had a hole in his pocket (imagine that) and his keys fell down his leg and got caught in his pants cuff!

    You always make me smile or tear up with your writing. It’s a gift.

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