OPINION

Hawn: Precious items lost then found

Posted 12/8/22

I began the second thing I do every morning after crawling out of bed — washing my hands.

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OPINION

Hawn: Precious items lost then found

Posted

I began the second thing I do every morning after crawling out of bed — washing my hands.

As warm water rinsed off the soap, my sleepy eyes bulged and jaw dropped. Oh my God, I said to no one. They’re gone, both of them. The gold wedding band with tiny diamonds had been on my hand about two and a half years, the gold ring with three large diamonds on my right, nearly 70 years. My father, who died at age 50 in 1954 when I was 24, had left it to me, his only son. It would be passed on to John, my only son. I almost never removed it from my finger.

It didn’t take long to realize what had happened. It was a little past 10 o’clock the night before when Mary Beth and I grabbed our walkers and headed for the bedroom.

“Oh, I forgot to put out the recyclables,” I remembered.

Despite MB’s objections, I wasn’t going to wait another two weeks for the next pickup. I went into the garage, turned on the light and raised the door, getting a cold blast of strong winds. After sliding a dolly blade under a large plastic container stuffed with newspapers, cards, wadded up papers, stacks of Christmas catalogs and such, I shoved down two empty cardboard boxes to secure the load. I began slowly rolling the container down the sloping driveway, aided somewhat by the garage light and a nearby street light.

Halfway down, the dolly wheels struck a raised grout. The container tipped over, dumping out half its contents that immediately took flight down the block like a flock of soaring birds. A large pile of trash, partially protected from the wind by the container near my feet, remained to be replaced. Fearing I might tip over, too, I squatted down and carefully gripped the upright dolly with my right hand while the left scooped up what I could manage. Making almost no progress, I finally gave up and dragged what was left in the container to the curb.

After dressing early the next morning, I hurried outside where all I found was my empty trash container in my next-door neighbor’s yard. Soon my wife, Mary Beth, joined in the search, even down to the sidewalk, where a woman was approaching with a small piece of paper in her hand.

“Here,” she said with a scowl as she thrust it to MB. “It has your name and address on it. The weather forecast said it was going to be windy. You should have had a lid on that box.”

I joined the women and tried to apologize. The lady wasn’t interested in an apology, an explanation, my lost rings or my attempt to be “neighborly.” She merely turned her back on us and resumed her morning walk. There wasn’t much left to do except pray for a miracle. I had forgotten which saint restores lost items, so I prayed to several plus Jesus (it’s Saint Anthony) to no avail. The rings were gone.

The rest of the morning was spent at doctors’ offices and making other necessary stops before returning home and pulling halfway up my driveway. I headed in slightly off center to avoid an unlikely possibility I might roll over the rings. I simply couldn’t accept the fact they were gone. I left the car idling on the painted concrete with its busy colorful pattern while I saved a few steps to and from the mailbox. I tossed the mail inside the car, stood in front of the opened door and again cast my eyes on the driveway, near the recessed trash barrel.

I don’t believe in miracles but do believe in prayer. Suddenly I saw a sparkle in the sunlight, blending in with the multi-pink pattern — dad’s ring! I resumed my fruitless search for the wedding band, but couldn’t wait to give my wife the good news.

“You won’t believe it,” I said as I unclenched my fist to reveal the ring.   

“Oh, Jack,” she gushed. “Our prayers were answered. What about your wedding ring?”

I shrugged. “Must’ve blown away, honey.”

“I’m so sorry,” she replied. “Christmas is coming. I’ll replace it. There’ll be a lot of sales.”

“Well, that solves your problem of what to buy someone who has everything. You lost anything lately?”

“Only my glasses, almost daily.”

As MB headed toward the opened garage to enter the house, I stepped toward the car to drive it in, stood there momentarily looking down at something —a leaf?

Oh my God! “Hey, honey,” I shouted. “Mary Beth!”

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