I have to admit I’ve never been a huge collector of jewelry. I have simple tastes and, probably more so, a heavy hand on my pocket book.

I’m not one to walk into a jewelry store and browse around, looking for that perfect piece to place on my finger, my earlobes or my neck. Bling is just not my thing (sorry — I just had to do it).

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Clara Garcia

Don’t get me wrong, while I might not have a fetish for jewelry, I do have my fair share — not expensive and some even costume at best. I have a few pieces I treasure, including my wedding ring, a couple of necklaces I’ve received as gifts from family and friends and a few pieces that once belonged to my nana.

I’ve gone through phases in my life where I’d wear earrings, a necklace and a couple of rings everyday. There are also times when all I’d wear is my wedding ring and, for the most part, that’s all I’ve really needed.

For the past 21 years — 7,665 days, 252 months — since my wedding day, I’ve faithfully worn my wedding ring nearly every single day, with the exception of those days when I would deep clean our house. Almost immediately, this ring has been part of me — of us.

A wedding ring is a symbol of love, a symbol of devotion and a symbol of eternal commitment. That’s what I’ve had with Matthew all these years, and when it’s not on my finger, I feel a bit lost.

That brings me to about three weeks ago when the unthinkable happened. It was ironically the day after we celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary, and I was at my parents’ house with my brothers and sisters making tamales.

We were laughing and reminiscing while trying to perfect our process. My job was to place the savory, red chile marinated pork on the masa and wrap them in corn husks. It was a lot of work but, in the end, they turned out pretty tasty.

During the nearly day-long adventure, I would take a break here and there to wash my hands, either in the bathroom or at the kitchen sink. During one of those breaks, I sat down at the dining room table where all the work was being done, pulled my phone from my pocket to take a couple of pictures of our operation. I sent a couple of photos to my daughter, and sat there waiting.

For some unknown reason, I have this habit of touching my ring when I’m bored. As I waited for my nephew to finish mixing the second batch of masa, I realized something was wrong — very wrong!

As my finger rubbed across the top of my ring, all I could feel were the prongs that once held my diamond in place. It was gone! My diamond had fallen out and was missing in action.

My initial reaction was shock. I couldn’t believe it wasn’t there. Then I turned to my sister, with my eyes as wide as could be, and told her of my unfortunate situation.

We looked at each other, then at the first batch of cooked tamales and then back and one another and said, “No way!” I really didn’t think it landed in one of our creations, but I couldn’t be sure.

Immediately, I scoured the dining room table where we had been working. Nothing.

I got on my hands and knees, searching for it on the floor. Nothing.

I went to the bathroom and looked in and around the sink. Nothing. The same held true for the kitchen sink.

What was I thinking? If I had lost it while washing my hands, it was probably long gone down the drain.

At this moment, I was scared — not that Matthew would be mad I had lost my diamond that he had scrimped and saved for more than 21 years ago, but that it meant something, especially since it happened the day after our anniversary.

I sat there stunned. How could this happen? I thought I had taken such good care of my ring for so long — then this. It’s not supposed to be this way.

Wondering how I was going to break the bad news to the hubby, I reached for my phone in my pocket. Then I felt it — a little stone tumbling around at the bottom. I carefully grabbed a hold of it, slowly pulling it out. I found it! I found my diamond!

I was so relieved! It was a miracle — well, maybe not a miracle but I was very lucky I had actually found it.

My sister immediately got me a plastic Ziplock bag for my ring and wayward diamond. I sealed it up tightly and placed it carefully in a pocket in my purse.

When I got home, I placed a few dozen hot tamales on the counter, and told my husband I had some bad news. I pulled out the plastic bag and showed the hubby the ring he had placed on my finger more than two decades ago. Like I thought, he didn’t get mad. Instead, he made me an offer.

“Just get a new ring or, better yet, get a bigger diamond,” he said.

For the second time that day, I was stunned. A new ring? A different, bigger diamond? What was he thinking?

Like I said before, I’m not into a whole lot of bling. I’m more of the sentimental type. That’s why I was so shocked when he made the suggestion.

I politely declined, and told him I didn’t want another ring. I wanted my ring — the ring that symbolized our long-lasting marriage.

A few days later, I took my ring and diamond into the jeweler. After a close inspection, he told me most of the prongs that had once held my diamond in place were gone — worn down after 21 years of faithful wear.

Thankfully, the jeweler was able to order a new setting and I got my wedding ring back last week. I’m now back to my old self, fully aware and grateful that my diamond and my marriage are fully secure.

Editor/Publisher

Clara Garcia is a native of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. She is the president of the New Mexico Newspaper Association, and is a member of the Pilot Club of Belen.

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