[Image provided by Kieth John Paul Horacitas]

Valentine's Rings: Lost and Found Love

15:20 January 22, 2018
By: Keith John Paul Horcasitas
Okay, I know it's a corny old joke, but one worth repeating in light of my current predicament: “How many rings does it take to get married?” The old standard answer was, “Three: 1.) the engagement ring, 2.) the wedding ring, and 3.) suffer-ring!” 

As Maria and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary last July, I was reminded of what my wife had added to that old joke—a fourth ring: “Endur-ring!” 

So what's my dilemma? Well, it is in reference to that thing coming up: Valentine's Day. And I'm still trying to get out of the doghouse for something related to the famous drummer with the Beatles, “Ringo”!

You see, I lost my wedding ring in 2012, and guess what date it happened: February 29—leap day of the leap year! So it has taken a “leap of faith” for my wife and me to “endure” and sustain our marriage through the “suffering” without my treasured and blessed (at our wedding mass by the late Fr. Robert Boggs, SJ) covenant ring. 

And we both had the same rings—I got the same sterling silver engagement rings for us made in the form of a cross. I gave it to my honey, “Cookie,” as is her nickname, at the beautiful Most Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, on Christmas Eve in 1982. 

When we were preparing to get our wedding bands, the jewelers suggested and we decided to get a nice thick gold band for each of us with the sterling rings banded onto them. They were so neat, with the combination of gold and silver. And since my chemistry tended to discolor the sterling engagement ring rather quickly, it worked out better being placed on top of the gold. 

Some years after we had gotten married in 1983, I had gone to a New Orleans Saints game with a friend at the Superdome and at some point, had to use the restroom. Being one of the few guys who actually washed their hands after using the facilities (okay, let's be honest, guys!), I had the bad habit then of taking my wedding ring off before hand-washing and had put it on a nearby countertop. 

Later, after I had returned to my stadium seat, I realized that I had left my ring in the bathroom. When I quickly returned to the restroom, I couldn't believe that the ring was still there! I thought that I'd learned an important lesson then about not taking my ring off.

“On the other hand,” I've had the good, heart-healthy habit of doing chin-ups every night per the kids' swing set, which we've had for many years in our backyard. Unfortunately, I still had the propensity to take off my ring when doing the chin-ups, but had never lost the ring over the years—unless that's what happened on February 29 of that year. I'm hoping to ask my New Orleans buddy, David, if I can use his metal detector to check for the ring in the grassy area of my backyard near the swing set. 

Maria has actually been a really good sport about my having lost the ring. I bought a “fancy-looking,” $10, shiny, stainless-steel, hallmark temporary replacement ring that has the following words etched onto it: “I think of you all the time.” Maria wonders if it is she or my lost ring that I am referring to with that quote.

And while Maria didn't get a diamond when we first got married, I did subsequently get her one on a necklace. I used to tease her that the look of the cross at the middle, converging lines made a diamond-like effect. Maria always jokes that when I finally do get her one in a ring, it will likely be a “Dia-wond"—one of those fake ones—since I am so cheap! 
A few years ago, Maria actually gave me a better look-alike to our original wedding rings, as it is stainless steel with gold crosses on it.

On that leap day in 2012, when I had discovered that I had lost my ring, I was at work at an inpatient hospice, and we were being evaluated by an accreditation team. While I always strove to follow all the inpatient protocols, our great DON, Trygve, had prepared us thoroughly and emphasized to me the need for us to follow all hand-washing procedures properly. 

When I discovered sometime that day that my ring was missing, I inadvertently blamed it first on Trygve, RN, but was really just using “transference of anger at myself” for likely still engaging in the bad habit of taking off my ring before hand-washing. I looked many times for the ring at work and never found it. 

I really don't know where I lost the ring; it could still be somewhere in our house or outside, as I had noted earlier. There was no name inscribed on the inside of the gold band, so if someone had found it, it very likely got sold to one of those “We Buy Gold” businesses, which became very prevalent around that time. 

When I left that job at the inpatient hospice, I did a going-away song to the tune of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” written by John Denver that was made famous by Peter, Paul, and Mary. I used the following modified lines, with some other, not-noted tongue-and-cheek lines for fellow employees, for the song: 

All my files are packed 
I'm ready to go… 
So kiss me and smile for me 
Tell me that you'll wait for me... 
When I come back, I'll find my wedding ring!

So as we approach Valentine's Day and I still may not have found my missing wedding ring by then, I keep holding onto the faith that one day, I will find it. And even if I don't actually find it this side of heaven, I know that Maria and I will get through the third ring noted from that old joke (“suffer-ring”) and hold on to the fourth one that Maria made up (ENDUR-RING) to keep us ringed eternally! 

Happy Valentine's Day to all! 
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