Most beach goers were still sleeping in at this early hour of the morning. This was her favorite time of the day. The sun, just beginning it’s daily ascent, made the sand on the beach brightly glitter as though covered with the stars that had just blanketed the night sky.
As she stolled along the waters edge, something sparkling brighter than all else caught her attention. Curious, she walked over to see what it might be. There before her, partially buried in the ocean-wet sand, lay what appeared to a piece of jewelery. Squatting down, she gently loosened it from it’s resting place and pulled from the sand what looked like an exquisit diamond ring. Atop the gold band sat a large round-cut diamond. The ring was encrusted with debris and she surmised it must have spent several years in the grip of the ocean and it’s bed of sand.
Whoever lost this must have been devastated!
Using the water from her water bottle she gently rinsed the sand from the ring, being careful not to cause any further harm to the gold. As the sand released it’s hold on the ring a circle of small sapphires surrounding the diamond appeared. Hoping there might be an inscription on the band, she held the ring in the brightening sunlight and peered inside the gold band. There, written so tiny she had to squint and with the added help of her bifocals she read:
I love you forever. John C.
Without hesitation or second thought, she knew what she had to do. No matter how long it may take, and having no idea where to begin her search, somehow she would see to it that this ring was returned to it’s wearer.
Seeking the much needed assistance of her daughter, an avid research enthusiast, the hunt began. Found ads were placed in Lost and Found in various newspapers and on websites. Phone calls made to hundreds of John C’s listed in cities and towns throughout the state. Numerous people came forward, but because no description of the ring was ever given, those ‘hits’ were proven false. Yet the thought of giving up and keeping the ring never entered theirs minds. For months they pressed onward, determined their search would bring the ring home.
Eight months later, the woman received an email:
Just today I read your notice in the Lost and Found section of your local newspaper. After all this time has passed and the circumstances under which I lost my ring, I cannot imagine the ring you found is indeed mine. However, I’ve never given up hope that it would somehow find it’s way back to me.
My ring was a 14 carat gold band topped with a 3/4 carat round-cut diamond, surrounded by 25 tiny sapphires. Inside the band is the inscription ‘I love you forever. John C.’
I highly doubt this is the ring you have in your possession, but if it is please reply to this email. Otherwise, thank you for taking the time to read this.
The woman immediately replied to the email, then called her daughter, ecstatic to announce they had Finally found the ring’s home!
Ellen, it turned out, was in town visiting and her hotel was mere blocks away from the woman. Two hours later, at a quiet table in the hotel’s restaurant, the woman placed the ring in the trembling hand of the woman to whom it belonged.
Five years ago my husband John and I were vacationing at your beach. It was our 25th wedding anniversary. The first night of our arrival, a beautiful moonless evening with the sky awash in millions of stars, we donned our swim suits, grabbed towels and a bottle of champagn and went to the beach. That night John surprised me with the most beautiful ring I’d ever seen. This ring. Truly, it could have come out of a Cracker Jack box and I would have been just as thrilled. In John, I had everything I could ever want.
The night before our departure, we went to the beach one last time. We frolicked in the surf like a couple of teenagers! A bit later, as we toweled the salt water from our bodies, I saw that my ring was gone! We searched everywhere, slowly walking barefoot in the areas we’d swum, along the water’s edge, in and around our belongings on the beach. Nothing. Of course the fact that it was dark did nothing to help in the search and we had to be to the airport for our flight home long before the sun rose in the morning.
I was devastated, my heart broken that I had been so careless to loose not just the beautiful ring John had given me, but more so his love for me so delicately inscibed inside. I left details of the ring and my contact information with the hotel, I put Lost and Found notices in the paper and anywhere else I could think of. It appeared as though the ocean had simply added my ring to the many treasures already gracing it’s depths.
Four months later, my husband was diagnosed with luekemia. Oh how he fought it. We fought it. Twice we thought he had won, but that was not to be. He passed away a year ago yesterday. I came back here, not because of the ring, but to remember our last and most amazing vacation together.
When I lost the ring to the ocean, John was not angry, he did not fret over money spent and lost in the water. He said only this, “It was merely a gift to the most precious thing God could have given me… You, my love. I will love you, forever.”
I am curious about one thing. How is it that you decided not to keep what you found?
I may have been the finder, Ellen. But….it was never mine to keep.