This gift — even lovelier the second time around

As I waited at the gate in Lambert Airport to fly from St. Louis to Minneapolis, I used my time wisely by cleaning out the litter on the floor of my black leather purse.

Ladies, you know the stuff that settles to the bottom of our bags – empty M & M wrappers, snippets of tissue, sales receipts, old concert tickets, broken toothpicks. I had quite a pile of junk including a package of Orbit gum that had one lone stick left in it. I took the stick of gum out of the pack and placed it in a mini side pocket on my purse. Then I added the empty gum pack to the garbage pile.

Shortly after we boarded and I had finished a cup of Starbucks, I went searching for that stick of gum in the side pocket. Suddenly — with my seat partner as my witness — I literally went into Orbit.

My seat partner was Lola Maddox, a retired judge from Illinois, who seemed almost as elated as I was over what had just happened.

Before I go on, let me back up!

When I started writing this blog, I told the story of how many years ago my sister, Lori, our late mom, and I decided to call ourselves “The Ruby Girls,” because we all had July birthdays. We three loved our birth stone and our families enjoyed gifting us with ruby things — rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets.

About 15 years ago, my husband, Jim, gave me a beautiful ruby cross. I loved it upon first sight and wore is almost constantly – until the day it disappeared. I was heart sick when it went missing and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I had done with it.

It seemed it was there one minute and gone the next.

Often, I checked and rechecked my jewelry boxes and the drawers in my armoire. It took a long time to convince myself that it was gone forever.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve said to someone, “when you stop looking for something it will show up.”

Well, that’s exactly what happened on Delta Flight 3347 when I went looking for that chewing gum.

Tucked in the mini side pocket, along with that stick of gum, was a plastic baggy. I pulled it out and through the transparency I saw my ruby cross and a pair of ruby earrings Jim also had given me. Right then and there I shared my glee with Lola. This was, after all, something someone could not help but share.

I’m sure this cross and these earrings have been gone for at least four or five years. I remember purchasing the purse at Marshall’s in Jackson, Tenn., and actually not using it for a long time because I wasn’t sure I liked it. But how I managed to slip a little plastic bag holding this beautiful jewelry in a side pocket of a purse I will never know.

All I do know is that I’ve received this gift a second time during my birthday month – July. And I had a lovely seat mate in Lola to share it with.

I told my very happy story to my family at the dinner table. They remembered that I had lost the ruby cross and were elated that it had resurfaced.

As my tale unfolded, our 7-year-old grandson, Ethan, listened intently. Then he asked a very serious question.

He wanted to know, “But, where’s the gum?”

Is that not precious – almost as precious as a ruby?

Until Soon

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