Last week, before Darla departed for her venture of Cricket Chronicles, the three ladies of RoadHug pow wowed in New York and enjoyed a celebratory dinner at Cookshop in Chelsea.
The food was delicious. The setting was perfect. The company was inspiring.
For her send-off, Darla gave us gifts. Her gifts? Rings representing the RoadHug friendship and creative, entrepreneurial relationship we are so blessed to have between us. Darla appropriately gave me a vintage ring. After receiving it and proceeding to tear up a little, I looped it onto the chain of the necklace I was wearing at dinner. That necklace? A crystal on a chain that I wear for good luck, spiritual guidance and because I plain ole’ think it looks good.
Fast forward to last weekend. I found my way onto the Garden State Parkway to visit my family in Ocean City, New Jersey for a weekend getaway from the Big Apple. As I drove the nearly 150 miles down the shore, I wore my crystal necklace — now complete with a ring — to keep me company. I had decided that the necklace would become a new signature piece to my outfits, something I always wore no matter what else I had on my body. It would just … fit.
If you paid any attention to the title of this blog post or the image above, you’re probably putting two and two together. A day after arriving to Ocean City, I lost the necklace. How? By laying it down in the sand to play a game of paddle tennis with my Dad and completely forgetting about it. Well, completely until about 8 hours later when in the midst of drifting off to slumber, I sat up in bed with a start remembering that I NEVER PICKED UP THE NECKLACE!
So now you’re REALLY getting the picture above. I had lost — in the sand, the ocean, the surf, the darkness! — a piece of jewelry that possessed more sentimental value than anything I own. And I mean that — I’m not engaged and I shop at thrift stores. My personal relationships with material things are fleeting. Except, for this necklace.
After realizing that I didn’t have the necklace at 11PM at night, I ran out into the living room of our beach house and in a shaky voice told my Stepmom [named Jes] and Dad the situation. They came to my rescue with a flashlight, some assurance, and a trip down to the moon-lit beach.
The stars were beautiful that night, but I didn’t notice as I scoured the sand in search of the necklace. The tide had almost reached the top of the beach, so the necklace had either a.) been buried deep into the sand and out of sight b.) pushed around the sand away from its original location or c.) dragged out to sea, never to be seen again …
As I was searching for the necklace, a thought that I would find it kept reappearing in my mind. I was upset, I was frustrated with myself, but I was hopeful.
We didn’t find the necklace that night, but Jes did come up with a plan: She and my Dad vacation at Ocean City every summer, and the previous summer had met a woman named Cheryl with a metal detector. She frequently combed the beach looking for whatever things her detector would um, detect.
The only problem was … Jes didn’t know Cheryl very well. No number, and no address other than that she and her boyfriend literally lived on a boat not too far from Ocean City. My Dad and Jes had been down the shore for a few days already but had seen no sign of her. So the question was: Would we be lucky enough to see Cheryl on the beach to ask if we could request her services to find my necklace?
One day passed. No Cheryl. I gave up hope, deciding that it was “meant to be” that the ocean wanted my most prized possession. Maybe it was a sign of the universe, although I wasn’t really quite sure what sign it was. It was a sign I was angry with, because I couldn’t imagine why the energy of my life would need to take away something so special and so representative of my passions.
Monday arrives. Still no sign of Cheryl. Because it was technically a work day, I skipped the beach to catch up on email and attempt to get some things done. Later that afternoon, exhausted from a weekend of sun, fun and running [well, I always run, but that weekend I ran 15 miles collectively) -- I took a much needed nap while my Dad and Jes visited the beach.
It was about 6PM when I woke from my afternoon slumber. I staggered out into the living to greet the voices of Jes and her mom/my step grandmother, Elaine. We had a leisurely chat about my nap and their time at the beach. A few minutes passed when Jes said to me, "Why don't you move your computer from the kitchen table." Following orders, I walked over to my computer.
Woah. You're probably wondering: HOW did THAT happen? How did, after 48 hours, 90384 different tides, 3904840 people walking on top of the sand, and a small, small chance of acquiring a metal detector, you actually GET the necklace back into your hands?
Well, it first found it's way into the hands of Cheryl. Yes -- THE Cheryl with the metal detector. It just so happens that as I slept, Jes and my Dad saw Cheryl combing the beach with her device. They flagged her down and told her my story. Cheryl, armed with a mission, proceeded to sweep her detector around the area I had been playing paddle tennis and would have laid down the necklace.
It took an hour ... but the "beep beep beep beep beep" of the detector alerted her to where the necklace was, buried deep under the New Jersey sand. And ladies and gentlemen, the necklace that can't be lost [or swallowed by the sea] was found.
More fatealistic background to this story: Cheryl was “on the fence” about combing the beach that day. But in her mind, she felt that “she was going to find something good.” She wasn’t sure what — if it’d be a diamond ring, something random and fun like a car buried beneath the sand … or in the what-really-happened case, a lost necklace.
Fast forward again: Two days later, my Dad and Jes happen to see Cheryl on the beach again — this time with her boyfriend John, whom she lives with on a boat in Ocean City. They were pulling their home onto the shore — a special type of sailing boat called a “hobie” that can “dock” at any point along the shore.
Growing up, my Dad owned a share in a boat anchored in a dock in the Chesapeake Bay. He loved sailing. He used to go on sailing trips for the weekend, returning with a burnt nose and back but a smile from ear to ear. The point: my Dad’s happy place is when sailing.
So what happened in this fast forward moment? My Dad and Jes both experienced sailing in the hobie, thanks to their newfound relationship with Cheryl and her boyfriend through the, as I’m now calling it, “the necklace that can’t be lost.”
Later that night, my Dad and Jes treated Cheryl and her boyfriend to dinner in thanks for, well, just being their awesome selves. Jes emailed me her explanation of the story, which honestly does it much more justice than my re-telling of it.
We had a ball! Yesterday while Elaine and I were shopping, Dad spent a beach day with Otis. Cheryl and her boyfriend John were coming ashore on their Hobie’s and dad helped them bring the boats up. Turns out, Cheryl is terrified of dogs. So dad brought Otis over and showed her his commands. Soon after Cheryl was comfortable enough to give Otis treats right from her hand! She’s been terrified all her life and even had dad take pictures of her with a dog for her facebook! They told dad they would be out on the boats again today and if he was around he could go for a ride.
As total fate would have it, we played 2 hard sets of tennis and leisurely went to the beach late. Within a 1/2 hour Cheryl is heading her boat out of nowhere straight for us! Turns out she purposely brought it in looking for dad to take him out. They went well passed the horizon and sailed for almost an hour. I ran down to them as they were coming in, and after talking for a few minutes, Cheryl’s boyfriend offered to take me out on his boat. It was SO much fun!! What a ride! So we met them at the Anchorage in Somer’s Point and treated them to dinner for all their kindness. Meant to be!!
So the greater picture, point of this all?
I never lost anything when I lost the necklace. I gained a new relationship for my family — with Cheryl and her boyfriend, the boat, and as you’ll read in Jes’ telling, between Cheryl and our dog, Otis — thanks to the necklace and its, as I will now call it, “actions.”
Darla has told Julia and I that we can “make any situation into whatever we want. We control our lives. We control our minds. We control the circumstances of our lives.”
This necklace is an example of that own-your-life-mentality. I never lost the necklace. The necklace put itself in the sand for a reason — the reason of new faith, new relationships, and new experiences.
Will I lose it again? Well honestly, I hope not! But will I gain again, through the “actions” of this special possession? I believe so – in fact, I HOPE so!