|I've lost my wedding ring!!!|
No, of course that's not the correct caption for this iconic photograph, but it's what my face must have looked like when my mother said calmly to me last Friday, "Don't you always wear two rings on that finger?
The question came late on Friday. After I had driven from St. Louis to Kansas City, stopping on the way at a gas station in Booneville, Missouri, to use a restroom. After I had arrived in Grain Valley, where Mom lives. After I had joined her at the table to chat with her fellow residents while they had lunch. After I had used the restroom there. After My Twin arrived for a visit, and we had left to shop for a few things.
We went to Target for some snacks for Mom and champagne to toast Dad's birthday. And Panera Bread for lunch. And the hotel to check in, freshen up, and check messages. And Home Depot for a bird feeder. And Casey's for pizza for dinner. And Patricia's Foods for gift cards.
We got in and out of the car a dozen times or more. Here's just part of the booty we scored:
|Goodies for Mom|
You see where I'm going with this, don't you? I was in and out of so many places, and so preoccupied with enjoying an excursion with My Twin, that neither of us had much of a clue where we had parked, let alone where we had been. The day was a blur of busy activity, conversations, laughter, restaurants, and restrooms.
So when my mother oh-so-casually asked that question, the only thing I could do as I sat in horror looking at my finger is this imitation of Stanley Kowalski.
How was my wedding band missing? I had not removed that ring in over fifteen years. (Okay, I've been married for thirty-five years, but that's another story.) Why was my engagement ring still on my finger, and yet, the wedding band was gone?
After my rendition of Stanley's famous, "Stellaaaaaaaaaaa!" I went into action. Well, actually, I think My Twin may have had to slap me across the face and yell, "Get a grip, woman!" to bring me back to my senses, but somehow, we started to reconstruct the day.
Bathrooms. How many bathrooms had I been in that day? Oh, dear. I'm post-menopausal for crying out loud...I'd been in hundreds! Did you wash your hands? Oh, my god, what a question...of course I washed my hands! Lotion. Did you stop anywhere to put lotion on? I don't reeeeememmmberrrrr, I moaned.
"Didn't that ring have diamonds all around it?" asked my mother, quite innocently.
Why, yes, it did, Mom...all the way around. fifteen diamonds, to be exact. Fifteen LOST diamonds around the lost wedding band. Thank you for pointing that out, Mom.
Just when it looked as though My Twin would smack me again, I thought of the restaurant where I knew I had used the restroom. I called Panera Bread, and a very kind young lady spoke to the manager, who came to the phone and spoke to me and then spoke back to the young lady who went to check the restroom. I was filled with nervous excitement. But no. No ring. I left my phone number with the manager, who promised to call me if it turned up.
By now, My Lovely Twin, who had been my best friend just a few minutes earlier, had turned into The Angry Mother Figure, scolding me for having removed my rings. She was actually shaking her finger at me.
"This is not the first time this has happened," she chided me. "Remember when you lost your birthstone ring? That was in a bathroom too, wasn't it?"
Wow. She had waited thirty years to throw that one in my face, and she did it right in front of Mom.
"I didn't take all my rings off," I countered. "I just took the engagement ring off!" Lame comeback, I thought.
Suddenly it hit me. We had gone into the business office at the hotel to check our messages, and there was a small bottle of Purell by the computers. I had picked up the bottle, offered it to My Twin, and then used it myself. I remembered taking off my ring. The wedding band must have fallen off with it.
I grabbed the phone and called the hotel. I had barely spit out my dilemma when the front desk clerk said, "Oh, a lovely older gentleman (a doctor, she thought) brought the ring to us and said he'd found it in the business center. We put it in the safe in back, and will hold it for you until you come back."
I did the Happy Dance. Someone had returned the ring! Mom smiled, My Twin tilted her head and gave me the "Angry Mother's Aren't You Lucky?" look.
When we got back to the hotel that evening, I retrieved the ring, which had been placed in an envelope with, "Room #403 is the man who returned your ring!" written across the front.
I never was able to reach the man to tell him how much I appreciated his kindness and honesty. Indeed, when I asked the ladies at the front desk to check the room number for me, they could not find any doctor who had registered, and that particular room was empty.
It's nice, though, to know that once in a while, we can depend on the kindness of strangers, isn't it?
Today, consider a random act of kindness.