Thursday, December 29, 2016

That "Safe" Spot

If you're anything like me, you tuck important things away in, well, what you think of at the time are "safe" spots. It might be an important document, one you know you are going to need later, but don't have, say, the correctly labeled file folder for at the moment. It might be that newly updated  password, or combination for a new lock you haven't customized yet.

And, if you are anything like me, that safe spot is the safest place in the world to keep things from... me. The "Where did I put that?" can plague you for months, years, or as long as  you are willing to keep hunting and never finding it.

What doesn't count is that thing you never thought you'd need again in your lifetime. I got married back in '67, divorced in '81. Best forgotten, as much as possible. Papers "lost" on purpose. I know who I am, so does the government when it's time to collect taxes, or keep track of my eligibility for Social Security. I have an original birth certificate, issued way back when it was thought important to know whether I was legitimate or not. For you younger generations, that translated to whether my parents were married before I was born. But I hear lately that if I ever want to fly again, I need documentation to prove not only that I am who I say I am, but I am who I was. My name changed. It'll be a major document hunt, involving two states I no longer live in, but I have to trust that those proofs are in a couple of government files someplace, that is, in truly safe spots, and only a migraine full of work will be involved in securing copies. So that doesn't count.

The real heartbreaker for me was when I noticed a prong was missing from my Mother's ring, and rather than chance losing a very nice sapphire, I chose to remove the ring and put it in a "safe spot." No, that safe spot was nowhere within my jewelry chest, logical as that may have been. Face it, if you throw in a touch of paranoia, that would be the first place a thief would look, and that ring is one of the two only truly valuable pieces of jewelry I have ever owned. Why would I think it was safe in a jewelry box? It also had a lot of sentimental value. My youngest had given me the three birthstones, and they are richly colored and sizeable. It was custom designed, nickle-free gold since I had just found out about that allergy, and just-for-fun I had taken a bunch of small diamonds from another, old piece of jewelry and had them channel-set around the birthstones. I turned in several pieces of old gold, including a tooth crown, so my out-of-pocket at the time was affordable. Replacement now? Forget it!

The other valuable one was a dinner ring that I had made using my engagement diamond plus a few other smaller stones. Both rings had been appraised and insured, and for years, both worn every day. The half carat diamond got to seem a bit showy, and having managed to lose the other one, I decided to pass that along to the child I had picked to inherit it before something happened to it too.

I never put an insurance claim in on the other ring, as I "knew" I was responsible for putting it somewhere, and claiming anything else had happened to it, despite encouragement from others, didn't sit well. Some day I would find it again. But where?

I could picture myself sitting on the side of my bed in Arizona when I noticed the missing prong. My memories come that way. Important moments come with pictures. But then what? I will confess to looking through that entire jewelry chest at least five times over several years, unwilling to admit I'd done the job well enough the previous times. I checked out my suitcase pockets and my purses, because I had it stuck in my head that I would be returning to Minnesota and would be taking it to get repaired at a reputable jeweler I knew there. I emptied and refilled all of my camera cases, thinking I might have stuck it there. I looked through the laptop bag. I checked my files boxes because at the time I was still working and tax documents traveled back and forth. I even started looking through jacket pockets, nic-nacs, pottery pieces... everything I could think of, multiple times.

Steve and I had even discussed finding a hypnotherapist to locate that memory, but it seemed a lot of work to find one every once in a while when we thought about it, when I have no idea if I'm hypnotizable. Not to mention possible cost. Still, I wouldn't let it go.  Even tonight, with nothing much on TV and a bit of cleaning and sorting begging to be done, I decided to start with that old jewelry chest "just one more time". Until the next time. It wasn't there, of course.

There were a few storage bins on my shelves that needed some  sorting and tossing as well. I found a couple pairs of nail clippers that I knew had to be somewhere. Chapsticks too. Glasses cleaner. Old safety pins, padlocks, vitamins well past date, and a tube of athlete's foot cream that I haven't needed since I retired and go barefoot much more than shod. That tube was in a plastic bottle and looked like it had been oozing out the bottom and turning dark.

Luckily I took another quick look at it before I threw it out. That dark spot moved. It rattled. It turned into my missing Mother's ring, tucked away in a Safe Spot where nobody would ever be stupid enough to look for it. Especially not me.

Yeee Haaaaa!

Now, let's see: what else am I missing?

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