A Whale of a Bad Time

It was Sunday.  We were on our way to Kullervo’s biannual family reunion (read: incredibly fun vacay with an incredibly fun group of people), and stopped in Knoxville, TN to see our old stomping grounds.  We had planned a day of restaurants and places to bring the kids, and stopped first thing in the morning at the University’s Latter Day Saint Institute building (college ministry for the Mormons) where we’d first met.


This is where Kullervo was sitting when I first saw him. I knew right away that I wanted to marry that boy… I just had to convince him!

We got out of the car to take a few pictures and tell the kids the story of how we’d met.  We decided to walk the couple of blocks to see my old dorm,


Clement Hall… my first home in Tennessee!

and then we walked a few blocks the other way to show the kids the building we’d lived in when we first got married.  


Laurel Apartments – no longer married student housing, and totally lacking in the complex smells associated with the multitude of international students who used to live there.

We were close to the church we planned on attending that morning, so we just walked over.  

After a lovely church service filled with hipster beards and bow ties and a well-written sermon about the Church being made up of regular people and what that means for us, the church-goer, we walked back to the car to continue our adventures around Knoxville.

But when we got close to the van, something was wrong.  I saw a lot of broken glass on the ground, and I was fairly sure I didn’t remember it being there when we parked.20160703_123914

While we were at church, someone threw a rock at the car, shattered the window, and stole my purse (along with about $250-300, an iPod touch, my wallet with my credit cards, bank card, passport card, the spare key to my van, all of the chargers for all of our devices, and some sentimental stuff (as well as other stuff I haven’t remembered yet, I’m sure).

They left the rock.


There was shattered glass everywhere.  Everywhere.  The kids’ stuffed animals.  The car seats.  The Moon Pie that I had started but not finished on the drive the day before.  The steering wheel, the seats, the floors, the cup holders.  The bags of library books were covered in glass.


We realized that they ONLY grabbed my purse.  They did not take the Kindle or the iPad, or the musical instruments.  Our laptops were in the car (but hidden).  It was not as bad as it could have been.


Kullervo called the police.  I called the credit card companies and canceled all the cards (and managed to do so before they were used!).  I called the insurance company to find out how to proceed.  They told me that they could send a glass person out on Tuesday.  It was Sunday.  I asked what we should do in the meantime, and they said they could not advise me on that.  I asked what I should do about paying the deductible.  They said I’d have to pay it to the glass company.  I told them that I’d canceled all of my credit cards, and my purse was stolen, so I actually had no money.  They said they could not advise me on that.  Kullervo pointed out that their customer service was bad, but a problem for a different day.

He called some friends in town, who dropped everything, made us a bunch of sandwiches and brought us lunch, fruit, and water.  They also brought us moral support and an ear for our outrage.  I picked enough glass off of the driver’s seat to drive to vacuum as much glass as I could out of the rest of the car.  And I cried.

Kullervo’s brother was also on the way to the reunion, and he stopped by and gave us a credit card to use while we’re away from home.   We made jokes about Calvinism and God’s grace.  He took the rest of our valuables in his car, since ours was obviously no longer secure.

Kullervo and I prayed and thanked God that we hadn’t gotten hurt.  That we were in a place where the kids could be safe while we dealt with the mess.  That friends were close who could bring us sandwiches and water.  That Kullervo’s brother was close by with resources to share.  That the weather was relatively pleasant and it wasn’t raining.

And we went to Walmart and bought a shower curtain to cover up the hole.  And duck tape to hold it in place.  And, because I wanted something cheery to brighten up a sucky situation, I bought whale duck tape.


I’m keeping the rock, and I’ve named it Forgiveness Rock.  And I’m praying for the people who did this, because they are hurting too.  They are suffering too, because if you can get to a place of moral ambiguity, it means you’ve been hurt and you’ve been damaged, and somebody did that to you.  And I hope that they can take the money and the iPod and find help.  And I hope they find the prayer card that my daughter wrote in church one Sunday telling  God that she knows that He loves her and she wants to follow Him, and I hope it sparks something in them.  I’ll never know the end of their story, but I hope it results in change for the better.