by Kathy Cannon Wiechman
Last week during a dinner out, the subject came up about how sentimental some people are. I am one of them.
I hold onto things that belonged to my parents and grandparents, not valuable antiques, just things that were theirs. I treasure “artwork” my kids made for me and still hang Christmas ornaments they made in nursery school. I have every card and letter my husband ever gave me. All precious reminders of those who mean so much to me.
But today the unthinkable happened. I lost something my whole family—whole extended family-cherishes as much as I do. Kathleen’s ring. A teeny-tiny christening ring.
Kathleen was my dad’s younger sister who died at the age of two from a ruptured appendix. I was named for her. And 38 years ago, when my grandma died, my dad and his siblings decided to give Kathleen’s ring to me. ME! Because I carry her name. I treasure that ring and wore it on a gold chain around my neck, the last surviving possession of a little girl, a reminder of family and my roots.
Today I went for a walk with my camera, snapping pictures of trees, flowers, and country buildings. At one point, I noticed my gold chain had broken and was hanging over my shoulder. The ring was gone! I looked down to the spot where I stood when I first missed it. No ring.
I looked inside my shirt and in my bra. No ring.
I searched the area all around me before I called to my husband and we retraced my steps. I had walked through grassy areas and along gravel drives, but I had photos of the places I stopped, so we could follow the pictures back the way I had come. Still no ring.
For two hours, we looked through gravel and searched a field of grass one blade at a time, thinking about the family heirloom that had been entrusted to me 38 years ago. How could I go home without it?
I have to confess that losing rings is not new for me. I usually wear eight of them. My fingers contract when they get cold and a ring falls off. I wave my hand to shoo a fly, and a ring goes flying. It has happened more than a dozen times. AND I or someone else has found them again. Every time.
It once took 15 months for my engagement ring to turn up again, but it did. It was in my house the whole time.
And a ring I was certain was at the bottom of
was found by my friends Jon and Patty Egan in Jon’s truck (which we had ridden
in to get to the lake). Lake Arrowhead
This time because of the location I was in, and because of the terrain and the size of the ring, I was afraid it was gone for good. But I couldn’t give up. I sent up a few prayers (Saint Anthony) and pleaded with both Dad (gone now 21 years) and Kathleen for help.
We kept looking, but were about to lose the light, when my husband yelled to me from a spot on a gravel drive. He held up his hand. There was no way to see the tiny ring it held at that distance, but I yelled “Really?” and he nodded. “Really? You found it?” My husband found Kathleen’s ring! I cried with joy as I hugged him over and over.
The family heirloom is now safely tucked away in a jewelry box. I am not sure if I should buy a new chain or keep the ring locked away. But I am grateful to my husband and to any saints or deceased relatives who looked over his shoulder and pointed him in the right direction.