Four days before Natalie and i were married i went back to that Catholic Church, the one where my Grandmother was laid to rest in '95 and the one where i lost a ring of Natalie's that same day. Immediately after losing it she and i had combed the area near where i dropped it, only to come up with empty hands and fingers. We were just kids then but she was pretty cross with me and has cited the negligent crime a few times through the years as an example of my carelessness. Finally returning, i turned over dirt and got stabbed and cut up by the unyielding holly bushes that still stand there on the west side, rooted and predictable, just like they were 21 years ago. For two hours i dug and clawed and metal detectored to no avail and was about to pack up the truck but decided to give it one more sweep. Replayed the memory in my mind and decided to look right in between the two areas i'd been focusing on. I got a hit immediately. I'd come by a few nails and pop tops in my searching but my heart started beating out of my chest and i knew exactly what was about to happen. This time i didn't even use a spade, i just clawed my hand in the wet soil, grabbed a hand full of earth and as i pulled it out my fist tightened, squishing mud out through every opening until my fingers closed around something solid, something perfectly round and something i had held once before, in what seems like another lifetime. I didn't even look into my hand to see it for a few minutes. Just closed my eyes and thought to myself that we live in a world where profoundly positive and redemptive moments occasionally come to pass. Where the past is sometimes resolved. Where things lost are sometimes found. And that there's just enough beauty and meaning in this world to counter the loss, suffering and disappointment that is an inevitable part of our existence. Some stories don't have as many of these affirming moments as we'd like. But when they do come, for me at least, they seem to justify having waited and hoped for them.
Saturday evening at the alter while i was making my vows, vows about Natalie and i historically coming home and returning to each other, i came out with all of it. I called my faithful steed Johnny Rea and she came running from the back porch and made her way down the aisle, a piece of twine tied to her neck bearing a ring long forgotten but no longer lost. The discovering as well as the revealing of it will always be remembered by me as some of the finer moments of our story. And even then, it got a little better later on when Natalie reminded me that the ring was actually one her father had given her, of utmost importance because he passed on some years ago and wasn't able to see his little gal walk down the aisle. Man, if all that ain't nice, i don't know what is.