Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Lost Ring

A few years ago Teresa and I begin to notice the wedding rings we bought many years ago were getting tight.  We concluded the altitude, low humdity and colder climate in Colorado had caused the metal to contract.  That seemed more likely than any other explanation.  Kohls was having a jewelry sale so we bought some new ones that fit a little better.  A year later mine was getting pretty loose.  I thought I had lost some weight, but I looked behind me and found it.  It had obviously been redistributed.

At least once a year we drive to Canon City, then along the Arkansas River on Highway 50 to Salida.
From there we go along the continental divide and the collegiate peaks to the beautiful community of Buena Vista.  We return home over Trout Creek Pass, Wilkerson Pass, through Divide, Woodland Park, down Ute Pass and back home to Colorado Springs.  It always renews our appreciation of the fantastic place we live.

Not long ago we got up early one morning in September and started on our familiar journey.   We stopped at Taco Hell in Canon City for lunch.  The weather began turning cold and it started to drizzle.  By the time we passed the entrance to Royal Gorge and neared the Arkansas River it was foggy and started to drizzle.  We were dressed for the conditions and didn't mind.

The Colorado Lottery designates their profits to go to the preservation of open spaces,  modernizing the parks and generally improving our quality of life, or so the theory goes.  The parks are very nice, but obviously the millions that pour into their coffers each year fall far short of what they need.  I came to this conclusion when observing the string of locations along the shore of the Arkansas River.  They each have a pit toilet, a few picnic tables and occasionally a spot to launch a raft.  A permit, which can be purchased at each location, one is good for all for a day, is required to pull into any of the areas.  It is sort of a fee to pee in a scenic location.  Anyway, I digress.

We stopped at the first area, bought our permit and I donated some Diet Pepsi into the appropriate facility.  It was getting colder and the wind was picking up.  A few miles down the road the next area had a viewing stand that extended out over the rapids.  It is a great spot to take pictures and view the rapids.  Due to the dropping temperatures it didn't take us long to appreciate the view and get back in the warm car.

We stopped in the small town of Cotapaxi for a snack and another Diet Pepsi deposit, then continued through the canyon until we reached the town of Salida.  We stopped at a convenience store for some gas and snacks.  I went to the restroom again.  Okay, I have a tiny bladder.  We were standing in line at the register when Teresa asked, "Where is your wedding ring?"  Oh crap, it was gone!

I dug through my pockets, no ring.  I searched the restroom, the surrounding area, then the van.  No luck.
We retraced our steps back through Cotapaxi, both parks, and finally the Taco Hell in Canon City.  At the last park area we met a ranger who took my name and phone number in case anyone found the ring and turned it in.  We returned home and didn't complete our planned trip.

As soon as we got home I began searching the house.  I was positive I was wearing it when we left, but
I might have been mistaken.  A crappy end to the day.  Finally it was time to give up and get a shower.  As I loosened my jeans I felt something fall down my leg and hit the floor with a clang.  My ring rolled away and came to a stop again the wall.

Suddenly it became clear.  While making the Diet Pepsi deposit at the convenience store in Salida I had a positioning problem brought on by a problem with my ten year old underwear made by peasants in some third world village.  The elastic just doesn't hold up like it should after 500 wash cyles.  When I was adjusting myself the ring had slipped off in my shorts and rode comfortably along while we spent the rest of the day searching.

The story doesn't have a happy ending.  Three months later, in the snow covered parking lot at Wal Mart, I removed the glove on my left hand in order to fish the car keys from my pocket.  My ring flew high into the air and landed somewhere in the deep snow, never to be seen again.  I told you it was a sad tale.

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