About five years ago I lost my engagement ring — a vintage, 1920s, platinum-and-diamond heirloom, on the Rio Grande Trail. After days of crying, I posted a lost-and-found ad in one of our local papers and began praying to St. Anthony, the Patron Saint of Lost Things. It’s a prayer my Catholic mother taught me a version of at an early age:
Dear St. Anthony, please look around,
Something is lost that must be found.
The valley was hit with flash flooding that summer, and the Rio Grande was closed for weeks after landslides washed away portions of the trail, along with, I assumed, my precious ring.
Against all odds, a few weeks later, a Missouri Heights man, walking his dog, found the ring sparkling in the dirt on the side of the trail. I asked how I could repay him. All he would accept was a copy of the children’s book I had written, “Snowmastodon!,” for his grandchildren.
St. Anthony, or a version of him, it appears, had come through.
Just before Christmas of this year, Terry Harrington also turned to St. Anthony for help.
According to her husband Matt, “She had been praying to St. Anthony for days,” after losing her wedding ring, a simple gold band with a sapphire and two small diamonds on either side. It had slipped off on Midland Avenue or at Starbucks in Willits, she wasn’t sure.
And while the ring probably wasn’t worth much, it meant a lot to Terry, given to her just a few months before she and Matt were married in 1992. “We didn’t have much money then, but it is the ring I put on her hand the day I married her, so it was worth something,” Matt said.
Terry scoured the parking lot at Starbucks and left her number with the staff should someone find it. Matt posted their saga on Facebook, writing, “It's a long shot, but great things can happen.” Terry started praying to St. Anthony and, according to her husband, she never gave up hope.
“When the ring was missing, a friend of ours reminded us of what a great community we live in,” Matt says. “You can lose money or rings and there is a very good chance you will get it back.
“Then it snowed,” Matt continues, “and I said to her, you have to move on, it’s gone. I didn’t think we would ever find it.”
Just a few days later, Matt received a call from Starbucks in Willits. They had lost Terry’s phone number, the person told him, but he had good news — an employee named Devon Walls had found the ring while cleaning the store. The ring, the man said, was safely in the Starbuck’s vault.
Matt surprised Terry a few days later on her 63rd birthday with the ring in a silver jewelry box.
“Between the collective positive vibes and the honest hometown spirit, Terry believed the whole time it would come back,” Matt says. “It would have been so easy for Devon to pick it up and put it (in his pocket). But he and the team at Starbucks went out of their way to get it back to us.”
Matt says that, when Terry went to meet Devon, he told her that, when he was first married, he and his wife both lost their wedding rings and they were never recovered. When he found Terry’s ring, he knew right away “the ring had to be special to someone.”
And it was.
On Facebook, Terry wrote, “A sky full of stars wouldn’t be enough to thank you Devon Walls for finding and returning my wedding band. … After 26 years of marriage the ring has been a part of me. I can’t imagine life without it. I am so happy and thankful it’s back on my finger. The best birthday gift ever!”
Attempts to contact Devon Wall directly were unsuccessful.
Amiee White Beazley is a Basalt-based journalist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast and Sunset magazine, among other national publications. “Good News” appears monthly in the RFWJ. Send your “Good News” ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.