We just got back from returning the ring. I won't make you wait until the end of the post to see the picture.
So much grinning, you guys. None of us stopped smiling for a second. When Tom and Mollie saw the ring they both audibly gasped. It's so much wider than the replacement ring. The engraving was bigger than they remembered. The ring size was bigger, too. "Am I smaller now?" Tom asked, laughing. "I guess I'm smaller now!" They turned the ring over and over marveling at what good shape it was in. I wanted to leap on both of them and envelope them in a huge sniffly hug, but I knew that really this was their moment. Best not to be pounced on by a veritable stranger in their living room.
I want to write something about how all the years of being buried under the recess field at school must have fed the ring and made it grow so that it emerged like a budding flower, shining its love and begging for discovery. But that will make me seem even sappier, won't it? Oh, heck. I don't care. The ring wanted to be found, don't you think?
Sam told them how, on the day he found the ring, he saw a flash in the sunlight and thought it was a quarter. He kneeled down and dusted off the shiny thing, determined it wasn't a quarter and had to find a stick and a rock to really dig it out of the ground. Once it was out, he used the stick to knock the dirt away from the inside of the ring so he could read the engraving. (He didn't tell me that part! Here I was thinking *I* was the one who showed *him* the engraving. Silly mama.)
Mollie told us how she and Tom had been out playing baseball 29 years ago and the ring must have come off when Tom pulled off his mitt. They didn't realize it was gone for a few hours and then they couldn't find it. Time passed, they replaced the ring, and they moved out of the neighborhood. Time passed more and they moved back into the neighborhood, always wondering what had become of the ring.
And now they have it back. Their 31st wedding anniversary is this week and Mollie has special secret plans for the ring. She wouldn't even let Tom wear it – it's secure on her own hand now. At least for the next few days.
In separate emails to me, while we were sorting out when to get together, both Tom and Mollie told me how much they still love each other. Tom said he'd marry her all over again. In the email I got from Mollie she said she would marry Tom all over again. There were a lot of exclamation points from both parties. And a lot of sniffling on my part.
Despite (my) protest, they gave Sam a modest cash award (that goes immediately into the Xbox fund) and we absconded with some pumpkin bread. We also have plans to get our families together for dinner sometime soon, with hopefully a star party in the backyard. (Sam and Tom are both fascinated by astronomy. There was much talk about water ice on Mercury and the upcoming NASA press conference regarding the new discovery on Mars.)
It was a lovely morning. Even lovelier than expected, and I expected it would be awfully nice.
And as a final note: Mollie asked why, once I found out their last name, I didn't use the phone book to look them up. "We're the only ones in there with our last name!" she said.
It never once occured to me to use the phone book. Not once. A sign of the times, I guess. But maybe there was some greater force that propelled us into making this a drawn out scavenger hunt. Maybe some universal power lengthened the process so that this would all have a happy conclusion mere moments before Tom and Mollie's anniversary. I don't know. I think we're all happy how it turned out, no matter what the journey was to get here. The journey itself has been so much fun!
So the ring has found its way home again. The Sauron in our hearts has been vanquished. And now we await a star party with our new friends.
Who knew a Minecraft obsession would turn up real gold? 🙂