Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Lost Rings of Sanibel

It was January 1st, 2014 and we were visiting my mother in Florida.  We only had a few days left of our vacation and decided to go to the beach.  It was me (George), my wife Andrea, our three kids (Alana, Owen and Remington), and my niece (Ariana).
We drove to Bonita Beach but there was no place to park, even after driving around for an hour. Apparently we weren’t the only people wanting to go to the beach that day.
So we decided to go to a beach on Sanibel Island because we didn’t think there’d be too many people that would want to not only pay $6.00 to cross the bridge but also $2.00 per hour to park.
So we drove almost an hour to get to Sanibel Island and the first beach we went to (Sanibel Lighthouse) was completely full, no place to park.  We even almost saw a fight between two women over a parking spot.  So our next big decision was to go Bowman’s Beach, it ended up being about another 40 minute drive (due to traffic) from where we were.
Bowman’s Beach
Arriving there was uneventful and we even found a parking spot, but it was still quite crowded.
It was almost a quarter mile walk to get to the beach from the parking lot, so we walked, carrying all of the beach stuff we brought with us.  We went about 150 feet up the beach to find a spot, and we got set up.
Let The Fun Commence
We had all the normal fun at the beach for a couple of hours, yay.
Back To My Mom’s
After the more than an hour drive back to my mom’s we pulled into her driveway and Andrea said, “I don’t have my rings!” Instantly she was in tears, her wedding ring, engagement ring, and anniversary wrap were not on her hand!  She took them off to apply sunscreen and forgot to put them back on.
There was no way that I wouldn't be going back to the beach to look for the rings, so I got the kids out of the car and we told my mom what happened.  She also came back to the beach with us.
Back To The Beach
Off we drove to get back to the beach.  Andrea called the police on Sanibel to let them know and they offered to have a police officer meet us there if we needed one, we decided to wait before we would have an officer meet us.  On the way up there I stopped at Wal Mart, Big Lots , and Target looking for a metal detector … we didn’t find one but we did get a couple of flashlights.
Driving all the way back up to the beach I was losing hope, it was seeming more and more like a huge undertaking and daylight had long since left us, it was pitch black.
We made it back to the beach parking lot and got out, I think from the expression on my mother’s face showed that she didn’t think we would have any luck either.  I got my wife’s bear pepper spray (in case we ran into any wild animals … we didn’t).  We had to use the flashlights and the light from my phone for the rest of the time or we wouldn’t have even been able to see our hands in front of our faces.
The Beach
When we got back on the beach, it seemed even more hopeless.  It was dark and there didn’t seem to be any reference points.
We started walking up the beach and I noticed a big hole that was dug into the beach close to the waterline, I remembered a couple of girls digging it when we were there earlier.  From there we got an approximate direction to where we set up our spot on the beach, but every step closer just seemed to be more hopeless to me.
Then Andrea said, “We were sitting there!  That’s a Jolly Rancher wrapper of mine!”  By some miracle it was still in the exact spot we were set up, it didn’t get blown away or trampled by other beach goers.
Let The Digging Commence
So we had a starting point to begin digging.
We started digging in front of where Andrea’s seat was, Andrea and my mom were digging machines!  As we started digging and shifting the sand around, we almost lost our starting point, so Andrea marked it with a stick she found on the beach.
About 15 minutes passed, and I thought we needed to dig a little smarter.  I tried to picture what might have happened when Andrea got out of her seat and stood up on the beach, and where the ring might have gone.
And Then…
I moved a few feet on the other side of where Andrea was digging, and I started digging. About 15 seconds later I said, “Wait, stop, is this it?” (or something like that)  I had uncovered the edge of the wedding ring about 6 inches down in the sand, I let Andrea take it out.  She dusted it off and handed it to me for me to hold. Andrea began digging from the spot she took the ring from and 10 seconds later she had her engagement ring with the anniversary wrap in her hand!  Once again the tears started flowing from Andrea, but this time for a different reason.
Andrea called the police on Sanibel Island to let them know we found it, the woman she was talking to said she worked there 35 years and women were always losing their rings on the beach, and this is the first time anyone had found their rings!

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