Or, Why One Shouldn’t Wear One’s Wedding Ring While Tossing a Football While Swimming in Lake Superior
It was a perfect day in Duluth. While the Twin Cities were sweltering in 100º heat, it was — as they say — cooler by the lake.
We had a few beverages and some snacks, then hopped into the water to float about and toss a football around. The beach was packed. Volleyballs bounced by, dogs barked hello to each other, horns from the harbor bellowed over the beach sand, which was a four-foot-wide pile of debris — sticks and logs — washed down the hill and piled back up on shoreline.
Given steady stream of waves and detritus in the water, I was worried when Emily jumped in wearing her wedding ring. From waist-deep water I shouted back at her and pointed at my ring finger. She brushed off my concern.
“It’s fine,” she said.
Liam and I continued tossing the football around, now zipping it in a triangle between ourselves and Emily once she reached the appropriate depth. A big freighter chugged out of the Superior entry to the port.
Liam arced a ball toward me, and it tailed to my left. I reached out, attempting a one-handed catch. I knew immediately. The ball, heavy and wet, its synthetic surface a little sticky from the weathering, had grabbed on to my ring as it deflected off my hand.
Standing in the hip-high water, I looked down. Except, you couldn’t. The red run-off had made any underwater visibility almost impossible. I’m sure I muttered an explitive. I can’t recall which particular one.
Again, I shouted at Emily and again pointed to my left ring finger. This time, it was bare.
She came over, as did Liam. I weighed my options, wondering about our insurance, and tried to stay in the same position against the waves, lest I drift away from where I thought the ring might have landed on the sand below.
“Don’t walk over here. You’ll just push it into the sand if you step on it,” I said while trying to feel the bottom with my feet.
It was probably not more much more than a minute between informing my beloved and assessing my options. I tried to dive down eyes open, but the Martian water impaired any hopes of actually seeing the ring on the bottom.
I dove again, eyes closed this time, and rocked my legs up over my torso. I bobbed upside down for a few seconds, worried that the waves were pushing me toward shore and further away from where my ring slipped off my finger. Reaching down I carefully scanned the sand with my hands, mindful not to press anything down. I’ll sweep carefully, and try to approximate a grid, I thought.
I bumped a rock with my right hand, sweeping my hands away from each other. Steady, steady. I swept my hands back together.
Ripples in the sand. Rock. Nothing. Something. It’s smooth!
A wave nearly flipped me end over end as I reached down and cupped the sand around my little piece of treasure. But there it was. Back on my finger.
“No. Way.” I proclaimed as I found my footing and reached to the surface, ring to the sky. I’m pretty sure I gave Emily the OK sign. Or maybe that’s also the international sign for the trident. I sure felt like Poseidon.
After all that excitement, we watched Biltzen Trapper and Wilco [setlist] at Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park.
You couldn’t have asked for a better evening. Good tunes. A great sunset. The American Integrity leaving port and passing under the Duluth Lift Bridge. And, of course, a good story.