Wedding rings, garbage bags and St. Anthony

I stood in front of a giant pile of garbage at the East Quincy transfer site, rubber gloves in hand. Somewhere in that mound was my diamond wedding ring. A series of missteps led me to this moment early on a Tuesday morning.

On Saturday I hosted a party for my daughter’s birthday. After grocery shopping, I spent the afternoon working at the kitchen island. Following dinner and cleanup, my 2- and 4-year-old grandsons spent the night. And before we finally settled down to sleep in the den, we tried our sleeping bags in the basement and then the living room. I share this because it wasn’t a typical weekend.

Monday morning came all too fast and as I put on my jewelry to head out the door, my wedding ring wasn’t in its place. I didn’t think too much about it — figuring I had just set it somewhere — and drug my garbage can to the curb for Monday morning pickup and left.

After I had been at work for a couple of hours I noticed my empty ring finger and thought, “What if it’s in the garbage?” I went home, but it was too late, the Waste Management truck had already been there.

I went home for lunch and made a cursory look for my ring, but it wasn’t in an obvious place such as on the window ledge above the kitchen sink. I mentioned it to my daughter and she suggested that I call the garbage company just in case, but I decided to wait.

I reasoned that I would make a thorough search that evening and search I did — pulling cushions off couches, opening heater vents, looking into every vase or object that tiny fingers could have dropped a ring into. I retraced my steps from the kitchen to our three slumber party locations, without any luck. I looked in the same places over and over, with the irrational hope that it would appear. The next morning I called the garbage company.

I was in luck. I was told that based on my address, my garbage would have been the first on the truck, so that meant it would be last off at the transfer site. Even better news — my truck was the last one in Monday night, meaning my sacks of garbage should be the most accessible.

So there I stood Tuesday morning, ready to wade through the mountain of bags and waste, on the hunt for white bags with blue ties, when I received the bad news — the truck bound for the Lockwood Landfill in Nevada had departed earlier than usual that morning with most likely my garbage bags in tow. If I had called the night before, I could have looked then.

Dejected, I headed home to change out of my garbage scavenging wardrobe. After retracing the past 48 hours, I concluded that I had probably swept my wedding ring into the garbage can as I cleaned off my kitchen island, but I couldn’t be 100 percent sure.

So I looked. I looked everywhere. I said a prayer to St. Anthony, but then immediately recanted it and asked him instead to find a missing girl who had been making national headlines. It didn’t seem right to waste a request to St. Anthony on a piece of jewelry when there was a teenager in jeopardy.

The ring didn’t turn up. The insurance company was polite, but informed me that since I didn’t have a separate rider on my policy, the most I would be entitled to would be $1,000 and even that wasn’t assured, since my ring disappeared under suspicious circumstances. I wonder what circumstances a missing piece of jewelry wouldn’t be considered suspicious.

While my husband wasn’t upset that I lost my ring, he wasn’t in the mood to replace it either. So, I looked at my options and I had a few, but ultimately decided to wear my grandmother’s wedding ring, vintage 1938.

While I am sorry that I lost my ring, it makes me very happy to look down and see hers. Maybe St. Anthony answered my prayer in an unexpected way. I found a ring that I was meant to wear.