We thank them and step away. I look around in despair, frustrated by the sameness of the tents. As I'm thinking we'll have to put our hopes into the lost and found after all, I realize the tent nearest me is backlit by a spotlight still shining in the couple's booth. Is that silhouette on the tent wall an earring display? I dart a look around to see if anyone is watching, then lift the bottom of the tent just high enough to peek inside. Yes, those are earrings on the wall! I sweep my flashlight beam across the gravel floor, from one corner to the other.
A glint of gold on the far side catches my eye. Not daring to believe it, and expecting to hear a police officer shout "Freeze," I squeeze under the tent and rush to see what's winking at me. It's my mother's wedding band, tilted on the gravel at just the right angle for my flashlight beam to make it shine. It had been there for hours, unnoticed.
My mother is incredulous and overjoyed, and I feel like a superhero. Over the years we've found things at the Art Fair that we enjoy, things that serve not only as decorations in our homes but also as reminders of a fun day spent together. No other Art Fair find, though, will ever top this one--my mom's lost wedding ring. And my mom learned her lesson. Now, on days when her ring won't fit, she leaves it in a jewelry box, safe at home.
[Originally published in July, 2012.]