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Never taking your ring off sounds nice…

Never taking your ring off sounds nice… Never taking your ring off sounds nice…

When I first started wearing a wedding ring six years ago, I made a promise to myself that I would almost never take it off. I was inspired my parents, who have been married for over 40 years and whose wedding bands are literally stuck on their fingers.

I always thought the inability to remove a wedding ring — as if the skin had grown around it like the bark of an old tree — was the ultimate symbol of longterm fidelity. Taking it off, even for a matter of minutes, seemed like tempting fate, as if it would inevitably start rolling toward a storm drain or find itself in the hands of some petty thief.

Oftentimes, though, Mother Nature is the most cunning burglar there is. That’s what happened this past weekend, when my ring was pulled from finger by the waters of a small Wisconsin lake. Before I knew it, my ultimate symbol of love and fidelity was buried in the muck, who knows how many feet beneath the surface.

Linda, my wife, was watching me swim from shore, and she immediately heard the anguished bellow I let out across the water when I realized my finger was empty. Of course, I didn’t really want to tell her right away what had happened. I kept saying “I’ll let you know when I get to shore.” But, several of our nieces and nephews were also within earshot, and they all wanted to make sure I wasn’t drowning or something.

“I lost my ring!” I yelled. “Really?” Linda replied, making sure I wasn’t trying yet another way to get her goat. This, unfortunately, was no joke.

With temperatures in the 90s and the unbearable humidity, I had been spending most of the day in the water, sitting on a flotation device and using my arms to propel myself around the water. At some point, I lifted my hands out of the water and noticed a slight change in weight on my left hand. It didn’t take long to realize what was missing.

Two things really impressed me about the aftermath of losing my ring. First, Linda wasn’t that upset. She lamented the loss of the white gold ring she had picked out back in 2014, but she was totally cool with buying a much cheaper sterling silver ring to replace it. Her only caveat is that the replacement will be one size smaller, so hopefully this doesn’t happen again.

Secondly, I was humbled by the attempted recovery efforts of my 20-yearold niece and nephew, Alex and Lauren, and Lauren’s boyfriend, Joey. Using a paddle boat, goggles and an underwater flashlight, they scoured the bottom of the little lake in search of my ring. They didn’t find it, but they seemed to enjoy the challenge. That’s family for ya.

Just so there are no rumors, I should be getting a new ring within a week or so.