From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul

Lost and Found

“You should get home more often.”

This is the phrase my conscience lovingly chided me with as I approached the driveway of my childhood home in rural Indiana. I hummed to myself as I parked my car and merrily waltzed over the sidewalk that had been the canvas for many a chalk drawing and hopscotch court in my youth.

It was a warm July evening. The screen door stuttered behind me as I entered the house. I dropped my bags and rushed through the house to where I knew my parents would be during any pleasant sunset . . . at the picnic table sharing tea and conversation. Being a part of this ritual is a little slice of wonder. How many times had I crawled under that table to eavesdrop on their familiar discussions? My life’s truest lessons had been learned there. I settled in across from them and kicked off my shoes so my toes could drink in the green of the freshly mown grass.

We exchanged kisses and giggles and I complimented my dad on how beautiful the yard looked. He thanked me and then announced, “Your mother has a story to tell you.” Even at twenty-six, I still loved to listen to my mother tell a story. She fills them with inspiration, humor, love and, above all, truth. I smiled at her and said, “I’m ready.”

She took a sip of tea and began. “Well, this will certainly cause you to believe in miracles if you don’t believe in them already.” I rolled my eyes and laughed. I was hardly the skeptic in the family. That title of distinction belonged to my eldest brother. You can count on the oldest sibling for that sort of thing. I grinned. “Okay, Mom, I’ll keep an open mind.”

“A couple of days ago I was putting away some shirts in your father’s closet and my ring got snagged on a shirtsleeve. I managed to get untangled from it and then I noticed the diamond was missing from my ring! I quickly began to rummage through the closet to try to find it. I pulled shoes out and turned them upside down, I shook his clothes and crawled all over the floor.

“It didn’t seem to be in the closet, so I began to retrace my entire day. I had potted some plants outside, so I went through my gardening gloves and the potting soil. I even yanked my philodendrons out of their new homes and shook the poor things until their roots were clean. Every step I had taken that day, I took again. I went through containers I had washed and then disheveled an innocent loaf of bread thinking I might have lost it in the bag. I stirred the pot of soup I was cooking for dinner, retossed the salad and wiped down the counter hoping I would hear it ‘clink’ or that I might see a sparkle. I returned to your dad’s closet for one last look when your father came home from work.”

She paused and I looked down at her left hand. It was gone. The ring that she had never taken off, the ring that had stayed on during the birth of four children, the ring that was deemed fit for kneading bread dough as well as dinner parties . . . was gone. Tomorrow would be their fortieth wedding anniversary, and I couldn’t help but feel my heart fall a little as she continued.

“I wasn’t going to tell him until after dinner, but as soon as I looked up at him I started to cry. I was sobbing and could barely get the words out. He just kept saying, ‘It’s all right, it’s only a thing, it’s all right.’ I wiped away the tears and decided we had better eat dinner. I even teased your father and said, ‘Careful of the salad, there may be half a carat in there.’

“We pondered over how such a thing could happen so close to our anniversary, and we began to talk about how amazing the past forty years had been. We revisited fond memories as if they were good friends and we marveled at how much we had grown—especially in the times when it seemed we had so little. A bit of diamond starts to seem pretty insignificant when you consider how a blind date became a great love story. As we finished our dinner my tears had turned to happiness, and I gave your father a kiss as I picked up our plates to take them to the kitchen.

“I stepped into the kitchen and nearly dropped the plates onto the floor. There in the middle of a clean counter, right where I had run my hands at least one hundred times in my search—was my diamond! I just stood there and called to your father to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. He walked in and just looked at me and mirrored my expression of disbelief.”

She looked at me with a grin and said, “Now, what do you make of that?”

I laughed and with tears in my eyes gave them a heartfelt round of applause. Then I asked, “Where is the ring now?”

My mom smiled lovingly at my dad and he began to blush. He put his arm around her and said, “I decided to wait and give it back to her tomorrow, when I ask her to marry me again.”

Ami McKay

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