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.