Last year, my wife and I had chickens. We had one large all white rooster who was the most loyal to us and was the one who walked closest to us. He was not very savvy but gentle natured and always wanting to eat. His name was “Guero.” “Guero” means ‘light complexion’. He would run around the house to wait for us when we would get back from work. He became our pet somehow. Unfortunately, since we would put out the bird feed for the chickens many wild birds also would come over to our home. At first, this was exciting to see all sorts of species of birds. We saw Green Jays, Great Kiskadees, woodpeckers, doves and others. We noticed that this affected our chickens because those wild birds brought certain things with them. Our rooster developed a severe case of leg mites. We were no chicken experts but we knew it was beginning to irritate him. I had to special order an oil from Europe that was all natural to clean his legs. We rolled up our sleeves and got the gloves. We had a plan. “I will catch him and hold him. You will rinse his feet then use the oil” I told my wife. She was none too pleased with this plan but nevertheless she took off her rings and put on her gloves. She dipped her gloves in the oil gook and grabbed his legs and started wiping.
We later went inside to go change our clothes after being outside only to find my wife’s wedding and engagement rings missing. We stopped everything. A sense of indignation and frustration began to well up inside. I didn’t lose my wedding ring. Why would she lose something so important? We looked everywhere. We went outside and scoured our backyard. We retraced our steps and examined each corner of our living room, our back porch, our kitchen and nothing.
The Washing Machine
She put her clothes in the washing machine. We went to the utility room and there was one beautiful ½ carat diamond engagement ring in white gold shining in all its luster on top of a lint laden plastic cover mounted over a brownish white crusty shell of a washing machine. Relief. Tension going down. Not gone. One more ring to go. “Where did you place your rings?” “In my pocket?” I noticed her pockets were very shallow and mainly for decoration and not function. I thought “of course they would fall out as soon as you squat down to clean “Guero” it might’ve come falling out.” Let’s check the washing machine again. Short of dismantling our washing machine we moved every appliance not tied to a wall and swept and mopped but no wedding ring. I was too upset to say anything. My wife felt too guilty and ashamed. It was too sad to even fight over. I couldn’t even use it against her in an argument. It was too great of a loss. Saying anything would only make everything worse. We never really talked about it seriously. We would joke about it once in a while. Maybe the chicken ate it. Maybe it’s buried underneathe a layer of dirt outside and I need a metal detector. You see we lost so much last year. Losing a wedding ring…I could always buy her a new one. A more expensive one. It hurt still anyways. It’s been more than a year since the wedding ring was lost. I didn’t give up hope yet. I knew it was somewhere on the property even if we didn’t know where. I didn’t even want to get rid of our washing machine until it completely died on us. Finally, it did. The delivery man brought us a new washing machine and asked if he should take the old one out to trash it. I said “no.” I want to take one last look. At least, give it a try. A couple of weeks ago, I took out my tool box and started unscrewing everything on that stupid machine. It was hot. There was still water leaking from the hose at the bottom of the machine and it smelled bad. Later I found out it attracted a colony of ants. I had to sweep them off the porch again. I injured two of my fingers since I didn’t really know what I was doing. I removed the control panel. I removed the lid. I opened up the shell and only to find rust, dirt and dead insects. The machine was wobbly by this point and could barely stand up on its own. It was dangerous because it could collapse. I went inside to cool down and decided to get my flashlight. I pried two sides of the outer shell open until the corners bent backwards to squeeze in the flashlight. Check corner 1. Nope. Corner 2. Nope. Corner 3. Ugh. Nope. Last corner. There it was. My wife’s wedding ring sitting in a perfect circle on top of dust particles and other contaminants. It shined. I felt it shine in my heart. I lit up. I needed something to grab it. I couldn’t reach my hand inside because the machine was too bulky and dangerous. I ran inside and grabbed a fly swatter. I hunched over and leaned myself against the floor and gently bumped that ring back into the sunlight where it belongs. It was in my hand again after more than a year. “Should I tell Jan?” was my thought. “Should I wait?” I realized the significance of this. I became emotional. I was wanting to celebrate too. So I went to the bathroom to celebrate silently and thank God. I looked at myself in the mirror discussing what the next step should be. I will wait for our anniversary I decided.
Our anniversary is August 9. We celebrated a week early because we had to get a baby sitter. I was kind of prepared. We went to go bird watching at South Padre Island. We laid down on the sea shore in the water. We ate seafood by the bay. Then, we walked over to the lighthouse that overlooks over the Queen Isabella Causeway. We were enjoying the sea breeze on top of the hill and watching the pelicans. I told my wife I loved her. I told her I have a gift. She didn’t know it at the time, but I had a diamond in my pocket. I told her to close her eyes and stretch out her hands. I used one of those old wedding ring boxes we had tucked away in storage so long ago. She opened her eyes and examined the black box not knowing what to make of it. She ever so slightly cracked the ring box open and took a quick peek. She immediately turned her head toward me and said, “You found it.” She hugged the box and tears began to stream down her face. “It’s a miracle” she said. “Happy anniversary.” I said.
What did I learn about lost things?
1. Not everything that is lost right now is lost forever.
2. Just because something is lost doesn’t mean the value is lost.
3. Sometimes when something is lost for so long and then found again the value is increased. It now has a story. The newly found thing will be cherished more and more closely guarded.