It was an annual tradition.

Every Labor Day weekend, the men in the family drove to the Texas Gulf Coast to engage in the delights of deep-sea fishing. It was a time of bonding, fun, and getting stinking grubby.

After the men realized a small fishing boat suitable for lake fishing does not cut it in the turbulent waters of the Gulf of Mexico, they hired a boat and its crew. The professional, but also grubby crew took the eager fishermen out to fish for red snapper, kingfish, and on occasion even sharks. Besides, the boat’s service included cleaning the fish. Year after year, the fishermen returned home with several coolers filled with enough fish to last each family for several months.

In all the catching fish excitement, Hubby’s hands became slick with fish guts and other slimy, yucky things. As he grabbed a fish to haul it into the boat, his wedding ring slipped off into the water.

The man did something so romantic that it still makes this writer smile. He hired divers to search for the lost ring. It was an impossible task. Instead of the needle in the haystack, it was the ring in deep waters.

Before our next anniversary, the wife bought him a replacement ring.

Since our daughter was around five years old and quite curious, when she saw the purchase she peppered her mother with questions.

“Daddy lost his wedding ring. I’m buying him a new one. But you must keep this a secret because I want to surprise him,” her mother explained. The daughter’s eyes glowed with excitement and promised to keep mommy’s secret.

On the morning of the anniversary, the little girl climbed into her parents’ bed, and stage-whispered in her father’s ear, “Mommy bought you a surprise ring.”

It did not take long for the second ring, a plain gold band, to resemble the old one. Hubby’s ring told the tale of a man who was not afraid of hard work and getting his hands dirty. In fact, he still does not mind dirt.

Over the years, the ring collected its share of scratches. The ring lived a productive life on Hubby’s finger as he worked on cars, repaired things around the house, and built toys for the children. One such set of toys was a stove and refrigerator even our granddaughters enjoyed when they were little.

Fast forward to the present. Hubby is now even thinner than he was when we first met. Back then, he could turn sideways and disappear.

One night, Hubby walked into the bedroom and announced that he lost his wedding ring. “I don’t know where I dropped it because I didn’t feel it fall off.”

“Don’t even think you’re getting out of this marriage that easily,” she said with a smile. Although losing the ring made them sad, her comment added another moment of laughter to their lives.

The next day, we searched the house, the garden, the chicken coop, and our car. We even called our daughter asking her to check her home just in case he lost the ring there on our recent visit.

Finally, we texted our nephew. “Next time you come over to feed the cattle, please bring your metal detector.”

It was dark when he arrived with the detector in hand. But when he touched it to the ring on his finger, the gadget did not work on gold. And yet, he took his flashlight and searched for the ring.

Around midmorning of the following day, Hubby walks into the kitchen. “I found my ring.”

“Where was it?”

“Under my recliner.”

We texted everyone involved in the ring search to tell them the good news. A simple text was not the end of the story. They all replied asking where we found it, expecting a detailed explanation. Nothing is simple in life, is it?

Finding the ring was a happy moment because, after 51 years it would be difficult to buy him another surprise ring.


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