Was it a Sign?!

20 years ago this week Linda and I were married.

A dubious omen followed.

I lost my wedding ring on our honeymoon.

We walked to a secluded beach, spread our blanket, and enjoyed each others' company.

It was sunny and hot. The ocean was crystal clear, cool, and inviting.

The ring fit loose on my finger. I was afraid it might slip off during a swim. It went into my shorts' pocket. It was wrapped and placed safely on the blanket.

Not accustomed to wearing my wedding ring, I forgot about it until we reached the parking lot, about a half mile from where we spent these relaxing few hours.

We walked back along the low tide line. Soon after, the ocean covered our trail.

My heart dropped. My fingers felt no ring in my pocket. My hands rifled through my other pockets. Nothing.

Linda looked at me with concern. I was flustered and irate with myself. She was an angel, and is still.

She said: "Don't worry, our jeweler can make a duplicate".

I was depleted, but a voice in me sensed hope.

Returning to the hotel, I stopped at the town's Chamber of Commerce and asked for equipment rental businesses, found one, and rented a metal detector.

Returning to our beach blanket site with the detector, wise guys leaving the beach offered me "a few dollars to treat my date".

When we explained we were on our honeymoon and I lost my wedding ring, they offered to help us search.

By then, our initial path from the blanket was under water, so my search started at the blanket site. The tide was approaching the blanket's indentations in the sand. Time was precious.

Linda's ring triggered "BEEP" when we checked the metal detector. Its circular end crisscrossed the site three times. The "BEEP" was my obsession. Nothing sounded.

The metal detector covered each inch of the blanketed area with no response.

Dejected, Linda said: "it's getting dark and the tide is approaching. It's time to give up".

The folks who offered help left, suggesting our ring quest was comparable to finding a needle in a hay stack, but worse since our search area was about to be engulfed with water, and destroyed.

My mind sent me pictures of my perilous midnight climb on a dangerous New Mexico Mountain, last second athletic victories, insurmountable childhood odds and injuries. All these seemingly hopeless situations turned to sweet victories.

And it's been sweet. Twenty years later we have three beautiful children, a loving home, strong bonds with good family and friends, faithful relationships, health, fun, lives and careers dedicated to service, learning, and problem solving, and we have hope.

We also have my original wedding ring. Just before ending the search, I surveyed the area surrounding the blanket's perimeter.

My metal detector sweeps were fast and furious, so the initial "beep" was feint. My heart jumped after hearing it. The detector waved the area again, slower, and the "beEP" was stronger. I isolated the ring's location with the third vibrant "BEEP" and dug my fingers into the sand.

The ring shone bright. It was the most beautiful site.

And, I've been thankful ever since.

Happy Anniversary!


Brian L said…
Great Story Matt!!
Unknown said…
Matt and Linda... Happy Anniversary! I've enjoyed being a part of your wonderful relationship! Somehow it seems longer than 20 years...like the two of you have always been. And thanks for the wonderful story. I never heard that one. I love that you actually rented a metal detector! I guess the first few weeks of marriage are precarious for rings. A few weeks after our wedding, I thought I lost my lose ring in the snow. However I found it in the winter drawer where I guess it slipped of as I got some gloves :)

I never thought to get a metal detector, though I went through the snow before checking the drawer. If it were not in the drawer I think I would have given up.
Nayan said…
Man it's a good thing you found that ring or you would of been in the 20 year dog house! lol
Happy Anniversary Matt to you and Linda!
Rhonda Walsh said…
Wow. Tears of joy. I love that faith and determination. Hope is eternal and when it comes down to it that is all we have that we own: hope. No one can steal it -no one can destroy it - and when you choose to keep it close only good comes from it. Just like finding your ring. Great story. Regards and To another 20! Rhonda
Matt Paknis said…
Thanks everyone! Of course, ring or not, the real value of marriage is the bond and nurturing cultivated over the years. It's a blessing.
Sheila M said…
Great story and i am glad you did find the ring but you are correct the ring does not make the marriage. The bond and trust is what keeps you together. Happy Belated Anniversary and many more blessed days to come.
Matt Paknis said…
Thanks Sheila, Really like your comments. Glad you enjoyed the story. Hope all is well.
JosephHunter said…
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