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Sailing with Charlie – The Ring

John had always had a burning ambition to sail. Long distance cruising was his ultimate goal. Among many other things during a ‘Learn to Sail’ course the subject of water consumption and showers came up. As usual Charlie explained the use of the outside shower on the back of the boat. “In tropical waters jump in for a swim, then wash yourself with Joy dish-washing liquid, it’s well known amongst sailors for lathering in salt water. Jump in to rinse off and towel off to remove the salt. Whilst underway use a bucket; saving fresh water is important!”

For the next couple of mornings John used the ‘Joy method’ but sometime later he noticed that his wedding ring was missing, “Must have come off while I was showering, slippery stuff, that Joy.” Surprisingly he didn’t seem too concerned. Then he explained the story of the ring.

“We got married in a civil ceremony – must have been almost thirty years ago. Well, I bought my wife a ring but when she asked about a ring for me I said I’d rather have a new tape deck (remember tape decks?). She looked at me askance – but finally agreed. A year later she got pregnant and when the baby was born she wanted to have a christening. Just before the ceremony she remembered I didn’t have a ring.

“She told me, in no uncertain terms, that I couldn’t possibly go to the christening of my own daughter without a wedding ring. What would the pastor think?

“She ordered me to run to the jewelry store and get a ring. Well, the only one they had was a bit too big but I bought it anyway – and since then I never bothered to have it altered to fit. And now it’s gone!”

John’s sailing buddy, David, had never heard this story before and Charlie, who felt a bit responsible, sympathized. “What are you going to do?” asked David. “You know if you go home without your wedding ring your wife will think you took it off to encourage a bit of hanky panky?”

“Why don’t you buy a bling ring, make sure your wife notices it when you get home, then throw it away saying you lost it there.” Charlie suggested.

David thought it would be a good idea to go back to the anchorage and try to find it. “It was in about 20ft of water, that’s all.”

“Yeah,” said Charlie, “but the bottom was grass, nearly impossible to find. I’ll have a good look next week when I’m back there. If I find it I’ll send it to you by snail mail – ‘Love from Joy!'”

John, who should have been the most upset at his loss, just waved his hand indifferently as if it was nothing. “Never liked wearing jewelry anyway,” he said.

A day after their sailing trip was over Charlie was in town and just happened to notice the two likely lads coming out of a jewelry store. He surmised that the expensive looking package probably contained a new gold wedding band for John – and possibly a luxury trinket for his beloved wife.

Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’

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