Losing My Wedding Ring and Finding It at a Pawn Shop Relates Perfectly to My Marriage

Was it coincidence—or fate—that played a hand here?

It was July 2014. We were building a smaller house and getting ready to move when my husband became very ill. He had to spend nine weeks in assisted living, leaving me to do everything in our new home. By nighttime, I felt as if I was moving in slow motion.

One such evening, as I reached for some lotion for my aged hands, I noticed that my Bluebird diamond wedding ring—which I had worn for more than half a century—was missing. My finger was naked. I was devastated.

I looked in every drawer, every closet, and the car. No luck. My family told me to retrace my steps. That would be a task, for that day I had closed a bank account, taken my car in to get it fixed, and gone for an eye exam (only to find out I needed cataract surgery).

I sat, feeling numb. My mind wandered back in time to when I had caught my first glimpse of the man I married. I was five years old. There wasn’t any kindergarten in those days, and my mom often encouraged me to tag along with my dad. That particular day, he was going to get freight at the depot in Highmore, South Dakota, a “city” of only a few hundred people. As we drove down in our pickup truck, we came upon a large herd of Black Angus cattle being driven near the roadside. They were going from West River to New Underwood near Rapid City for water and pasture, the man in charge told my dad as we passed them.

I was looking at the youngest rider. He seemed to be about nine years old. I waved to him, but he just tended to the cattle. Perhaps he was shy.

Next my memory traveled to my senior year in high school. The most exciting thing to do in those days was to dress up and walk the streets of Highmore with my classmates. It was on such a day that a black hardtop car went by real slow. A passenger yelled, “Girls, do you want to ride around with us?” I could hardly believe it: Among the people in the car was the young cowboy who hadn’t responded to my wave 13 years before! But he wasn’t ignoring me now.

text: How did I know to go to that pawn shop? Intuition? The work of angels?

So, our love affair began. He offered the ring a few months later. The diamond was small, but my future husband chose it for its perfection and shine.

The daydream passed. My daughter Jan called.

“Mom, I’m coming this weekend to see you and Dad. You should shop for a new ring.” She was determined. “Where do you want to go?” she asked.

“A pawn shop,” I said. I told her there was one close by.

At the shop, we found five jewelry cases to look through. This would be an exercise in patience. We picked out three rings from the first case. One was too big, another too small, and the third too expensive. So we continued to the next case, and this time I chose two more rings. I picked up the first. As I slipped it on my finger, I shouted, “Here’s my lost ring! My Bluebird diamond! See how it just fits.” Everyone in the store turned to the young man helping us. He got a magnifying glass out and said, “It is a Bluebird.” I wanted to know how my ring had ended up there, so the police had to get involved. Weeks later, I got a call from an officer who told me that a girl had found it in the mall parking lot.

I’m still in awe that I found my ring. How did I know to go to that pawn shop? Was it intuition? The work of angels? Just curiosity? I’m not sure I’ll ever know. But I did learn that sometimes things are gone for a while before they reappear to be claimed. Just like my man. And just like my ring.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest