It was my mother’s wedding ring. It was delicate, and old, and sweet, and I spent hours when I was a little girl, holding her hand and looking at it, tracing the lines of the little bow that held three impossibly tiny diamond chips. Dad put it on her hand when she was 19. And it meant the world to me.
How I lost it, and where I lost it, is still a mystery. I had it in my hand last week, and could have sworn I packed it in my suitcase when I came back to Park City, but it wasn’t here when I unpacked. My brother and sister-in-law scoured my home in Santa Barbara for me yesterday, and it was nowhere to be found.
I spent a sleepless night feeling heartsick, feeling empty, and aching for my parents. They loved Kim and would have been delighted that we got married. I was going to wear that tiny little band next to my new wedding band, so that every time I looked down at my hand I could feel them near me.
I stumbled, or rather grumbled through the morning, brooding and inconsolable. I busied myself with errands and emails, trying to move on.
Then around lunchtime, the phone rang. A gentleman with a subtle southern accent said he was looking for Barbara Boyle. Yes, I said, this is she. He said, this is probably crazy but would you happen to be related to Mary Lorraine Eagan of New Orleans? She was my mother, I told him, somewhat hesitantly. That is what I had hoped, he replied.
His name was Fred, and his mother was my mother’s best friend when they were growing up in New Orleans. He had lost his mother to cancer when he was only 7 years old, but he had boxes and boxes of memorabilia of her life that he used to try and get to know her. Invariably, in the pictures of his mother when she was young, my mother was there too, with handwritten notes: Rainy Eagan and me at the Audubon Park pool, Rainy Eagan and me at prom. They were nearly inseparable.
He had googled Rainy’s name, and found my blog, Pecan Pie, Creole Gumbo and all. And now, he had found me.
What a remarkable world.
He told me his mother was named Elizabeth Walsh, and I suddenly remembered Mom talking about her best friend, Betty Walsh. He wondered if I would be interested in seeing these old photographs of my mom and his when they were young.
That is when I began to cry.
I have lost my sweet parents, and may very well have lost their wedding ring. But somehow, they found their way to me, right on the day I needed it most. Somehow, their love, their spirit and passion for life, lingers, and still has the power to reach out and touch me, physically and palpably. I find it most amazing.
Fred is a flight attendant for United, and was racing for a plane, so he hasn’t had a chance to email me the photos. But when he does, I will share them with you. I can hardly wait.
Dad had three favorite songs: On Top of Old Smokey, Born to Lose and Wonderful World. The first was chiefly a song to be sung while shaving, the second was what he played over and over when he and Mom would listen to records on Saturday night and he was feeling nostalgic or some such nonsense, but the third really captured how he saw life in the end, as he looked back on it after 85 years on the planet.
The longer I live, the more I agree with the final theme.
Yes, I say to myself, what a wonderful world. Oh, yeah.