Truly “Grate”ful

While Susan is taking a few weeks break from writing new Susan’s Musings posts, we are pleased to bring you one of her past favorites (originally published in 2010). Enjoy!

On the day after Thanksgiving 2008, a fisherman in East Texas’ Lake, Sam Rayburn, pulled in an 8 lb bass. Inside it, he found a beautiful blue-stoned class ring engraved with the name of its owner, Joe Richardson. Through the Internet, the fisherman located Joe who had lost the ring 21 years earlier while out fishing just two weeks after his 1987 graduation from Universal Technical Institute in Houston. His mom had bought it for about $200 and was not pleased when it went missing.

My ring story isn’t quite as dramatic.

This past summer [2009], my daughter Tamara and I were in the kitchen when I removed my rings in preparation for baking. We both watched in horror as my engagement ring rolled off the counter, bounced along the floor and dropped into the hot air grate.

If this was a shot I was trying to make, I don’t think I could have managed it, but there we were, staring at the floor hoping that the ring would bounce back up. No such luck.

Whatever activity we had planned was immediately cancelled. We lifted the grate and took turns reaching into the venting trying to feel the ring. When that brought no results we stuck masking tape on the end of a broom and fished around, bringing up quite a bit of lint but unfortunately no ring. Our third attempt had us placing pantyhose over the vacuum cleaner wand in an attempt to suck up the ring. By the end of this try we had a very clean heating vent but still no ring.

Thinking that perhaps our eyes had tricked us, we thoroughly swept the kitchen in case the ring had hit the grate but rolled elsewhere. No luck.

A few weeks later, Tamara left for a year’s study in Jerusalem and the months passed with my husband and me occasionally saying, “We really should call the insurance company,” but never doing so. To tell you the truth, I don’t think my husband ever really believe the ring went through the vent and so he didn’t know what to say to the insurance people. He knew that Tamara and I thought we had seen what we said we saw, but his imagination just couldn’t wrap itself around the physical realities that had to coalesce for the ring to have actually fallen through the grate.

Furthermore, the ring’s financial value is hugely exceeded by the sentimental value. And while I admit to an emotional twinge when the ring was out of bounds with no recovery in sight, it actually seemed pretty unimportant. Contrary to Hollywood norms we got engaged without a ring and in fact it only came into being because my future mother-in-law disassembled a brooch of hers and lovingly offered three small stones to her son. At the time I accepted the ring it was a token of promised affection and commitment; over thirty years later tokens are nice but blessedly redundant. The proof has been in the daily pudding.

Then, about a week ago my husband heard an ad on the radio for a business that cleans out the crawl space under houses. He called the company, related our tale and asked the person who answered the phone if he had any ideas. This person went the extra mile.  Although his company couldn’t help us, he recommended another company that specializes in cleaning hot-air ducting. The owner of the company himself answered the phone. It turned out that Jack was a long time radio fan of my husband’s and he offered to come over and see what he could do.

This past Friday this kind man drove up, taking time from his work day to poke around underneath our house. He found my ring. It had not only gone through the grate but had then rolled quite a way down the hot air ducting.

The word “grate”ful has taken on a whole new meaning.


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Our society feel’s very divided right now. In 1999 our book, America’s Real War, explained why, as committed Jews, we fight to preserve America’s Christian heritage. Now available again, this award-winning book, which has been out of print for many years, is as important and relevant today as it was when it was written.

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15 thoughts on “Truly “Grate”ful”

  1. I love lost-and-found stories such as this one, Susan. Thank you for sharing this piece of your life. I am remembering a time when we were at a birthday party on M.I. and our mutual friend Nika lost her wedding ring in the grass. I felt so honored to be the one to find it for her. I’ll bet your radio fan/duct cleaning service owner felt the same. Blessings!

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      1. Ahhh, I LOVE making my sourdough bread. I have been meaning to look at your video – can’t wait to see it!

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  2. In the process of unleavening our home for Passover in 2018 my wife lost her wedding ring. After looking for days we assumed it had fallen in a box we took to the dump and we stopped looking. Last spring we were again spring cleaning and my wife wanted to look under our wry heavy couch for crumbs. As I lifted up one end so she could clean under it there it was. The amazing part of this story is that we had looked there several times in the last two years. Did a cat drag it there? Were we blinded to something so easy to spot? Or did it fall from the corner of the couch to the floor during other cleanings? Whatever the answer is she now has two nice wedding rings she loves equally. The value was not ever the point as neither ring was not an expansive set but what they stand for made the finding it again priceless. I loved the first reading of America’s Real War and am looking forward in reading it again.

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    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Lovely story, Lee,
      Thanks for writing. So I am not the only guy having to lift heavy pieces of furniture for Passover/Spring Cleaning! Good to know.
      Cordially
      RDL

      + 1
  3. I had lost the diamond out of my wedding ring, after 45 years of marriage. One day soon after the loss my husband thought I should go looking for a new ring. On a rainy Saturday I was preparing to go shopping but before I got into the car I asked my husband if he wanted to come with me; to my surprise he said ‘yes’. We did purchase the most beautiful ring – something I wouldn’t have purchased on my own.

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  4. I love this story! I know things happen for a reason. I have read many stories online where someone loses a HS Class Rings or other family heirlooms and it is found by someone many years later. I read a story where a Purple Heart Medal was found at a Flea Market. The person was able to get it back to the relatives of the veteran. We have an old piano in the basement that was a gift to my mother in the 40s. Mom dropped her weekly allowance quarter inside the piano and could never find it.

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  5. Debbie R. Evans

    I have my late mother’s wedding ring I saw on her hand for over 60 years. I had put it with others in my safety deposit box. I went to get something from it and noticed it had one of the diamonds cut out! Because so much is stolen from me and have reported prior missing personal property. I have given up on any recovery of any of my now, gross amount of missing objects. So thankful everyone else has had blessings.

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