When the couple was married in 1962, Judith placed a gold band on Dewey’s finger vowing to love and to cherish him for life, “for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.” Fifty-eight years later, in 2020, the ring vanished from Dewey’s hand one fateful afternoon as he worked along the shore of their picturesque lakefront home. Two long years had now passed. Despite repeated search attempts, the precious love-token seemed lost forever.
A metal-detecting specialist with over 40-years’ international experience, I couldn’t help but briefly engage the couple in a line of forensic questioning about its disappearance. I learned Dewey had lost some weight, that his ring was fitting loosely at the time. He was working with some garden hoses beside the lake, hooking up a water pump to irrigate his wife’s beautiful flowers. In the evening, to his horror, he realized the precious ring was gone.
Did the ring leave his hand when he threw the pump line out into the water? Was it buried in the murky depths of the lake? Was it laying in a crevice among the rocks along the shore? Had a crow or blackbird picked up the shiny item as they are known to do? Perhaps, the ring had landed in the grass and was pressed out of sight in the turf. A very large tree in the vicinity had since been removed, its stump leveled by a commercial grinding company. Had the ring been chewed up by the grinder’s iron teeth? A low area in the lawn was leveled using topsoil and sod. Was the ring now buried deeply beyond detection? These questions and more remained unanswered.
With the couple’s permission, I voluntarily returned later in the day, offered up a silent prayer and set to work searching in the water. A myriad of signals from the lake’s murky bottom bore testimony to decades of human presence—rusty iron, nuts, bolts, tin, nails, beer cans and a century-old spoon. But, after an hour of scouring the lake bottom, Dewey’s wedding ring failed to surface.
Moving onto the shore, an overwhelming array of metallic signals chirped their presence in my headphones. Ferreting a gold ring out from all the noise was challenging, even with my state of the art, XP Deus ll detector, knowledge and expertise.
Three hours into the search a faint signal begged investigation. Cutting a plug of grass about 6-inches deep, I turned the sod over exposing the black soil beneath. The signal was now clear and crisp. Breaking open the clump, Dewey’s wedding ring suddenly flashed its golden presence in the evening sun!
Returning to the house, I discreetly slipped the ring into Judith’s hand where she lay on her hospital bed in the living room. “I want you to be the one to give it to him,” I said.
When Dewey appeared, Judith asked him to come and sit beside her. Even in her weakened state, her face radiated love and grace. She held out her trembling hand and then opened it to reveal the ring she had given him 60 years before. The emotions of that moment were beyond words!
Actual photos taken when Judith gave Dewey his long-lost wedding ring, the one she placed on his finger 60 years ago!