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LYNN — It may be just a cane. And David Lee has many of them lying around his house.
But this cane is special. It was hand-made, and given to him earlier this year by his sister-in-law after her husband, whose cane it originally was, died.
Now, that cane is missing. And the Lees are beside themselves trying to get it back.
“I’ve never prayed so hard in my life,” said Lee’s wife, Irene.
Lee, 89, has arthritis in his back, and has already applied for a handicapped placard for his car. But he has to use a cane to help him get around.
“I have canes,” Lee said. “I have millions of them. Right here, in my kitchen, I have at least three of them.”
But none of them were given to him, “lovingly” said Irene Lee. This one was.
Sometime last week, Lee ran some errands. He got a sticker for his car at a service station on Boston Street, then went to buy groceries at Market Basket, and he went to McDonalds.
“I go there almost every day to get a cup of coffee,” said Lee, whose son, Mark, is the head coach of the St. Mary’s boys hockey team as well as a 32-year veteran of the Lynn Police Department.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, he and the cane became separated.
This isn’t just any cane, either. It’s distinctive. It’s made of wood, for starters, and the top of it is shaped to fit in the palm of one’s hand.
Lee’s brother-in-law owned the cane, and his sister-in-law, Irene Lee’s sister, gave it to him after her husband died.
“I told her I didn’t want to take it,” Lee said. “But she insisted. Now I’m kicking myself.”
Making this even worse for Lee is the fact that his nephew wanted to have the cane as a remembrance of his father.
“If I’d known that, I never would have accepted it,” Lee said. “And I’ll tell you this. If I ever get it back, I’m going to give it back to them. I feel horrible about this.”
The minute he found out he didn’t have the cane with him, he retraced his steps to the three locations, but it did not turn up.
“Irene is going crazy here,” Lee said. “My sister-in-law gave it to me, and now I go and lose it. Or someone stole it. I left it somewhere.”
Lee knows this isn’t the type of cane you can buy at your local pharmacy.
“They had it specially made, and I would like to know where they had it made, so I can try to get another one.”
All they want is their cane back, and that if anyone has located it, and doesn’t know to whom it belongs, he or she contact the Lees. They don’t have a picture of it, but David Lee hopes the description of the cane’s unique handle is enough to prompt someone to make the connection that it might be his.