September 20, 2012

Needle in a Haystack

**This is N in the A-Z series**

I'll bet you think I'm going to write all about how finding true love isn't easy these days. That it's like finding a needle in a haystack. Ha! While I do love writing about how lucky I have been in love, today's story is about a prayer, a wedding ring...and a cat. So yeah, unless you consider my cat Darwin the love of my life (okay, okay, some of you do), this is more of a "dang cat" story.

Shortly after I married the love of my life, and just mere months after receiving the nicest piece of jewelry I had ever owned in my life (and it still is), I lost it. Let me back up a bit. One night, Joe and I decided to watch a movie at home while cuddling on the couch. My ring was bugging me a bit so I decided to take it off. At the time, I had a crystal bowl sitting on the coffee table in front of our couch, and I threw it in there thinking it would be perfectly safe while we watched our movie.

But let me back up even more. Before I ever even met Joe, I found a kitten. He was huddling on the side of Geneva Road in Orem, Utah, next to a large cat and two other kittens that had become road kill. Tragically, instead of running away from what was no doubt his family, he sat there on the side of the road with them. I passed him and hadn't made it a 1/4 of a mile before my heart strings had me turning around and driving back. The little guy came right to me as I got out of my car to collect him. And I took him home. I didn't have him long before I realized he had a true weakness for all things shiny. When he was still a kitten he ate a dime. The dime became lodged in his small intestine and cost me $600 to have removed in emergency surgery on a Saturday morning. He survived the eating of the dime and 11 years later, I still have him.

So that fateful night, I took off my ring and put it in the bowl. When Joe and I finished the movie we were falling asleep and I stumbled off to bed without taking my ring with me. The next morning I woke up to get ready like I always did but when I went to put my ring on, it wasn't in its usual spot. I remembered putting it in the bowl and went to get it. As I'm sure you've guessed already, it was not in the bowl where I was sure I had left it. In a panic, I informed Joe that my ring was missing and we began systematically tearing apart our condo to find it. Neither of us said anything, but both of us were beginning to suspect the cat as the culprit. I kept my mouth shut out of fear of Joe killing my cat and Joe kept his mouth shut out of fear of killing the cat in front of me.

You see, Joe isn't a cat person. He's not much of an animal person at all really. He grew up around animals, but for the most part they weren't allowed in the house and they tended to die at rather alarming rates. Me on the other hand? I can't recall ever sleeping without a cat in my bed my entire childhood. Unfortunately for Joe I guess, the woman of his dreams happened to also love cats. His family likes to tell me that when he and I were dating, he once told them he really liked me "but she has a cat". Like it was something he had to weigh carefully before deciding to spend the rest of his life with me. Just how much did my pet cat detract from who I was as a person and how attractive I was as a potential eternal companion? It was a serious consideration for Joe. And while I can't say that he and Darwin have become best friends who sleep curled into a ball of fur and skin, I can say they have developed mutual respect for each other.

But back to loss of my wedding ring. As we were tearing our small home apart to find the ring and both silently beginning to suspect the cat, Joe decided we should say a prayer and ask for heavenly assistance to find the ring. As we knelt with our heads bowed, Joe whispered a most fervent prayer that my ring would be found. Immediately after the prayer I began to load Darwin into the pet carrier so that I could ferry him off to the vet for an xray of his stomach. I knew from experience that shiny metal things in cats stomachs show bright and clear on xray. But suddenly Joe had a thought. He remembered being irritated with the cat at some unholy hour of the morning because he was batting something around in our bed, down by our feet. He kicked Darwin off the bed but not before he heard the sound of something metal clank against the footboard of our bed.

Halla-freakin-lujah! It had to be the ring! We both practically ran into the bedroom to check between the mattress and the foot board. And there, just where Joe thought it would be, was my beautiful wedding ring. I placed it back on my finger with thankful tears no doubt threatening to run from my eyes and Joe glancing heavenward in silent gratitude. That day we learned about being careful where we left important things (I did anyway), the power of prayer, and that Darwin cannot resist shiny metal objects. All three lessons have stuck with me for the last 11 years, much like Joe and the cat.
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