Awakening the morning after jury duty, I discovered to my dismay that a gold ring I bought decades ago in Greece had disappeared from my right hand ring finger. I searched the bed without success. Where could it have gone, I wondered. Then I remembered that after losing ten pounds on a summer Elderhostel program in Central Europe the ring could easily be slipped on and off my finger. Though aware of the problem, I had failed to have the ring resized and undoubtedly it slid off my finger without my knowing it.
Immediately I began recounting the events of the previous day which I had spent on jury duty at the Dane County Courthouse. On arriving there that morning, I remember putting all metallic objects into a tray while going through security. When I arrived back from lunch and again from a late afternoon coffee break, the process had to be repeated. On one of these occasions, I seemed to remember taking off my ring. I assumed that I must have put it back on after emerging from security, but maybe not.
I thought next about my several visits to the restrooms. Which led me to wonder whether the ring might have come off when drying my hands carefully with paper towels. If so, the ring would be in one of trash baskets. Or perhaps the ring somehow slipped off my finger as jury members joined to clean up the jury room after devouring an uninspiring supper of pizza and soft drinks provided by the bailiff.
Immediately after breakfast I drove to the Courthouse. I wanted to check the trash bins on the unlikely assumption they had not yet been emptied. But the Courthouse doors were locked—it was Saturday. There was nothing to do except wait for Monday.
Monday morning I delivered a note to the bailiff describing my lost ring and my guess that it had fallen into one of the trash bins. The following morning the bailiff phoned saying the trash bins had not been emptied over the weekend. He personally searched through them but could not find my gold ring. He wished me well in my ongoing search.
The next step called for contacting the local newspaper to place a Lost and Found advertisement. I did so thinking that the ring might have slipped off my finger as I walked to lunch or later for an afternoon cup of coffee. To my surprise, the classified ad department said they never charged for lost and found ads. Despite offering a generous reward, there were no responses to the ad. I assumed the ring was gone forever.
Sally was more devastated by the loss than I. She wanted us to go out immediately and find a replacement ring. I objected saying the ring had provided me with more than 30 years of enjoyment. Moreover, finding a suitable replacement would be difficult.
Time passed, and the ring receded from my memory.
Then one day more than two months later, I arrived home and noticed the missing ring on the dining room table. How did it get there? And where could it have been?
Sally reported she found the ring in the kitchen drawer where we keep bread and other bakery goods. She had cleaned the drawer that morning and once it was empty, there was the ring.
Only then did I figure out what happened. Upon returning home at about midnight—the trial was a long one because we were a hung jury—I must have quietly foraged for some tasty chocolate chip cookies we keep in that drawer. While doing so, the ring must have slipped off my finger.
Lesson learned? Immediately, I took the ring to a jeweler to have it resized. But now I must be concerned about my weight. If I lose more weight the ring will have to resized downward. If I regain the lost weight, the ring will have to be resized upward.
The moral seems to be this: don’t let your weight get away from you, and be careful when you make late night raids on the chocolate chip cookie supply!
About the Author
At age 92 I decided to showcase my recent and current writings on a variety of topics outside of my career interests as an economist. My wife Sally’s dementia, my experiences of war, and my interests in improving higher education all compel me to write.
For most of the last decade I maintained a low profile, necessitated by my wife Sally's suffering from a decade-long siege of vascular dementia. After she passed away several years ago I wrote about our experience, in the belief that this would be helpful to the many others who suffer from dementia and their family caregivers. I am currently seeking a publisher for my book manuscript: The Forgotten: Dementia and the Right to Die.
Over the past few years I began working on several other writing projects that are described more fully elsewhere in my blog. These include a nearly-completed book manuscript on my "expected proficiencies approach to the college major'' as a vehicle for reinvigorating liberal education. I continue to write on the shortcomings of UW-Madison's affirmative action policies and programs that over the years have been renamed "diversity and inclusion" policies and programs.
Within two weeks of my graduation from UW-Madison in June 1950, the Korean War broke out. I was drafted and expected to be sent to Korea to join our fighting forces there. But instead I was sent to Turkey for 18 months. How lucky I was. I am also writing a memoir of my Korean War military experience when I served as an U.S. Army adviser in our military aid program in Turkey.
Until I began branching out beyond economics, I failed to realize what a profound effect the Great Depression and World War II had on me as I grew up. I have already captured some of these recollections, with more of them to follow.
With that introduction, I turn you over to my blog entries as well as my other writing projects described more fully elsewhere in my blog. Best wishes ~ W. Lee Hansen
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Award-winning author W. Lee Hansen, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Full bio.