TRI-CITY AREA — Lynn and Don Cook know all about treasures. How they're so easily lost and surprisingly found.
The couple is familiar with both ends of the spectrum. A house they lived in since 1972—the place they raised three children—burned to the ground in January seven years ago. With the fire went years of treasures. Not necessarily fine china or antiques, but the one-of-a-kind things like handmade Christmas ornaments; school pictures; sentimental knicknacks.
So when they spot a red and green storage bin on Old M-21 heading home to the Capac area from Lapeer something about it seems familiar, Lynn says.
"My husband said 'that doesn't look right,' so he turned around," she says.
Christmas ornaments of two toddlers and youngster identified as Dalton are among those Lynn Cook hopes to reunite with their owners. photo by Catherine Minolli.
The bin is lying next to the road just west of Weyer. The Cooks peer inside and discover it's full of someone's treasures.
"It's packed with Christmas decorations, there are pictures of little kids and one ornament that says 'Parents to Be 2005,'" Lynn says. "It's not something that looks like it was on its way to the dump."
Indeed, the green plastic Rubbermaid bin with a red lid is neatly packed with a wide variety of Christmas ornaments layered and separated by cardboard spacers and some bubble wrap. It may have fallen off the back of a pickup truck or trailer unbeknownst to the driver.
Many of the ornaments are Disney-themed. Some bear dates going back to 1987. A plastic globe encases a photo of a little boy and girl, the girl appears to be about two years old and the boy maybe close to a year old. The date surrounding the photo is 1993.
There's also a Christmas tree cutout made of colored paper with a handwritten date of 2001. It signed by the young artist 'Dalton.' Dalton also appears in a photo on a sphere he probably colored in with magic markers. He looks to be about five years old.
There are a number of hockey-themed ornaments, and some appear to be travel mementos as well.
"I know how special these things are," Lynn says. "I thought someone in the area might recognize them because of the name 'Dalton.' It's not real common."
Though Lynn just sifted through the top layer of ornaments for a clue to who they belong to, she notes that some of the ornaments didn't survive the fall.
"A few are broken," Lynn says. "We hope the owners see the story or someone they know hears about it and they get them back."
Though Lynn and Don aren't able to get their treasured ornaments back, they were given new treasures when they celebrated their first Christmas in the house they rebuilt on the same property after the fire.
"Our kids threw a cookie party for our first Christmas," Lynn says. "They invited everyone and unbeknownst to me each person brought a Christmas decoration."
Though it was a couple of years ago, the loving surprise still moves Lynn to tears.
"Now when we decorate our tree every year we know who gave us what and all the love that everybody showed us is right there in our tree," she says.
Editor's note: If you have any information about the lost bin of Christmas ornaments, are the owner or know who they may belong to please call me at 810-724-2615.
Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.