Let it be known that I am a big old man with a collection of lost plush toys in plain view accumulated over a lotta years of street rescues. I’m totally OK with that.

So let me tell you the story and positive consequences Beanie Baby “Smoochy,” the newest member of that ragtag toy troop.

Tree. Frog.

Smoochy was first spotted looking sad on the sidewalk across the street from our house during a dog walk last week. I left him alone for several days in hopes that whoever might’ve dropped him might pass by and get reunited. But no go. By the third day Smoochy had been moved up into a nearby tree, and by the fifth day I had packed a spare plastic bag with which in accordance to CDC guidelines during the Covid-19 Pandemic to conduct a noncontact retrieval, after which he got decon’d through the next laundry cycle and now sits cleaner and far happier on my desk, Prior to joining the other rescues atop a nearby bookshelf.

Freshly laundered.

Welcome to your new home, Smoochster!

And here they are in a group photo of said menagerie of various plushies (and a small pretty beat-up figurine of Woody and his hat from “Toy Story”) that I just couldn’t leave on the mean streets of Lost Angeles over the many years I’ve walked and pedaled upon them.

The gang’s all here.

To reiterate, regardless of my advanced age, size, shape, political affiliation and overall grumpy demeanor, this crew is proudly displayed, and there’s nothing you can do to shame me about such a collection in large part because it gives my old heart joy to look upon them and the fate my interventions preventioned.

But wait! There’s more!

What time is it?

This entirely incongruous wristwatch photo I’m showing you is of a pretty unique circa 1950s vintage Longines 14K square tank, this one being the His version of a His-and-Hers pair belonging to my late stepfather and that my mother had at some point given me for safekeeping. The Hers version is and has always been safely in my watch and jewelry box. But a long time ago, I deigned to wear the His on an outing and afterward subsequently misplaced it. It’s been missing for more than 10 years now, and I curse myself every time I think of it. And while I’ve bestowed my “Nothing is lost, it is simply not revealed” affirmation after every one of those curses, I was pretty dang sure it was gone for good, having been accidentally discarded or left in the pocket of a coat that had gone to Goodwill. This was based on the fact of multiple futile searches over the years everywhere the watch could and could not be.

Or so I thought.

See, in adding Smoochy to the group, I decided to bring them all down off that carved wooden box they can be seen propped upon, dust them off, and rearrange them back on top of it, as shown. In doing so I had this great thought to myself:

“Hey self, let’s look and see what’s in that box?”

And guess what? The watch was in that box.

Why did I put it there more than a decade or more ago before my first lost toy had been found? Hell if I know. But that’s where I put it.

So proven, yet again: Nothing is lost, it is simply not revealed.

And the further moral to the story: If I had acted my age and hadn’t brought Smoochy home, guess where the watch would still be? Gone, baby, gone.

So If you happen to pass by some stuffed animal all alone in the street and think you’re too old to come to its rescue; or that it’s all rather silly to feel compassion for what’s nothing more than some stuffing-filled fabric and a pair of plastic eyes, you should considering lightening up a bit. Because the fact is you just never what else you might find.