Sunday was a beautiful day and we were lucky to spend most of it outside. My husband and I reapplied sunscreen throughout the day to keep from burning. Some of the sunscreen got under his wedding ring when he was applying it to his face. As the day went on his finger got red and irritated under the ring so he moved the ring to his pinky.

Later on in the evening, we were sitting in our kitchen talking to a friend. I noticed that the ring was on his pinky and asked why. He explained about the sunscreen. Looking back, I should have told him to take it off. I should have voiced my concern about the ring not fitting on his other finger. Instead, I was distracted by my daughter coming in from playing in the yard. It was dark and her sister was still out there. The three of us got up to see if the other kids outside were carried off by mosquitoes. With the promise of the approaching storm, my husband covered and moved his grill. He also moved two large pots in front of the grill so it wouldn’t move in the wind.

That’s when we heard it – ping, ping – and then silence. My friend and I looked up as my husband used one of his favorite sentence enhancers. The ring had slipped off his hand and into the abyss that surrounds our deck. We went inside for flashlights and looked in the yard, bushes and mulch. We looked in the potted plants and in the cracks between the wooden floor of the deck. Discouraged, we decided to resume in the morning.

I spent two hours the next morning looking for the ring. As I crawled between the bushes, I had a strange déjà vu from a past Christmas when my dog got stuck under the deck. I hoped to find the ring hanging from a branch like a forgotten ornament. I combed the grass in case it bounced out into the yard. I looked through every crack in the deck from the grill to the end of the deck. No luck.

This is not the first time my husband lost his ring. We were married less than a year when his ring slipped off his hand in garbage can of wet lettuce. He and his coworkers spent a long time sifting through rotting produce before they found it.

When I came in from searching for the ring empty-handed, my husband offered to buy us new rings. Was he kidding? This wasn’t a cell phone. This was his wedding ring! Those matching rings were bought with the hard earned money of two kids on a budget. We gave them to each other in front of our family and friends 21 years ago. How could we just replace them, especially since mine was still on my hand? Should I throw mine into the yard, too?

The funny thing is I never liked our wedding bands. They were the ones we could afford at the time. I told my husband just last year that I wanted to replace them for our 20th anniversary. He wasn’t too excited about the idea so I decided to table it until our 25th.

Here we are now, between the two milestones with only one wedding band between us. What do we do? Just head out to the store between band camp and a softball game and pick out rings? Do we just put them on at the store and continue on with the rest of our lives? It’s sort of a downer.

As I write this, my husband donned knee pads and headed to the yard to search. Less than five minutes later, he came in with it on his hand. I guess with his luck he should buy a lottery ticket today.