Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Dump, part III

This part 3 of my adventures at the East Hampton landfill and the second of my personal stories concerning the place.

When we were engaged to be married, we had long discussions and shopping trips in regard to 'the perfect' wedding rings. We finally made an agreement about them...they would be yellow gold 'wide' bands with etched edges, exactly like the ones Mike's grandparents had. When we bought them, we had engravings placed on the inside of each band. "Grow old with me. 6-15-96"

My husband was in the habit of taking off his watch and rings during his working hours. He'd place his watch on the dashboard of the truck and his rings would be put on his keyring. At the end of the day, when his tree-care or landscaping work was done, he'd put the ring back on his finger before he started the truck.

One April day in 1998 on his route toward home, he made a trip to the dump with some debris. While there, he spotted a pile of bulbs which had been cleaned out of someone's flower gardens. Not being one to leave any green, living plant to die, he began to scoop up the bulbs and put them into the back of the truck. After two wheelbarrow loads had been 'rescued' he made an unfortunate discovery. His wedding ring had slipped off. He began to search the area on his hands and knees. Three or four of the employees at the landfill got involved too, gently raking and scouring the spot where the bulbs had been, and the area between that and the truck. It was closing time, so they kindly roped off the area with yellow crime tape, and told Mike to return in the morning.

Mike came home, afraid to tell me what had happened, but I noticed immediately that his ring wasn't on his hand. Sheepishly, he told me the story. We gently took the bulbs from the truck, placing them into wheelbarrows, all the while keeping a close eye out for the precious ring. We didn't find it.

Early the next day, I arrived with my camera as the men gathered around Mike to search the spot at the dump. It was a vain effort which is sadly documented by the photos in my scrapbook.
We thanked the Town employees for their consideration and help, and both of us went off to work with heavy hearts.

On a Christmas a few years later, I bought Mike another wedding band, very similar to the first, which has not yet been engraved. I got down on one knee and tearfully asked him if he'd be my forever husband. The giving of the second ring is not the same, even the sentiment in it is not, because the first one was bought together and given together with great and meaningful vows offered on our very special day. However, it does tell the world that this wonderful man is married, and he's married to me!

Somewhere in that pile of debris on Springs Road is a symbol of our precious and long-lasting love. Someday, long after we've gone from this earth, I imagine that there will be the finding of our special symbol. Someone will discover it in the dirt, read the inside, and wonder about the people who loved each other and this size 13 band of gold that signified their union. What will they do with the ring, I wonder? Will it end up in a scrap pile of 'old gold'? No, I don't want to think about that. I'd rather think that we might be as lucky as some I've read of where a lost ring finds it's way, miraculously, back to it's original owner. Wouldn't that be something?