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Newlyweds find losing takes its toll

I'll never forget the first summer vacation I spent with my new bride back in the summer of 1983. What a great vacation it was. At least, that's what it was supposed to be.

After coming out of marriage counseling in February we both thought it would be great just to go up to Lutsen Lodge for a romantic weekend. We both needed a break after discovering that we did not marry our clones. So, the time was right for having some fun together. And so, off we were.

We both decided that it would be fun to take a train do Duluth and once there rent a car and drive north to Lutsen. Well, here we are in Duluth and this is the train station. OK: the car rentals are here. Let's see, I'll just give them some cash and then we'll be off. Not so. They all want credit cards, or no car. Gee, honey, I don't have any cards, just money!

"Do something," she says.

I dig deeper. Ah! What's this Sears card? "That's OK," the attendant says. "I'll take it." Great, we're off, heading north again with smiles.

Here we are at Lutsen Lodge. Just look at that beach. Isn't this great? Let's go for a walk along the shore and lose ourselves in the summer sun. What a choice of words. We walk down the beach and stop every 100 feet and rest ourselves--sitting down and just running our hands through the pebbles looking for agates. After an hour of walking and sitting I look back and notice that every place we sat we made a little pile of stones. You could see where we were, up and down the beach. It looked like about seven or eight piles in all. As we got almost all the way back to the Lodge, my sweetie says to me, "Where is your wedding band?"

I looked at my ring finger and aged 10 years. Instantly I knew what had happened. It was all that digging. I forgot to remove my ring first. As I looked down the beach I knew it was in one of those plies of rocks. I quickly ran down the beach and sifted through the first pile. Nothing! Then, at the second pile, I scooped up some rocks and there it was ... my ring, my life!

My wedding ring was made just a little too large for my finger. I figured it would be a good idea because later in life, I thought that I would gain weight, and the ring would be too tight.

After all this, things were back on course -- dinner and a romantic swim in the pool late at night. Gee, sweetie, isn't the food great? And it was. Now it was time to take a little dip in the pool with my babe. We swam until the manager came and said, "The pool is now closed." So he shut the lights out and closed the door. We walked back to our room to dry off. On arrival I say, "Isn't this great?" She says in that familiar voice, "Where is your wedding band?"

By now I'm sweating bullets. This can't happen twice in one day or even twice in one lifetime. Instantly I run back to the pool. Nobody's there, of course. I summon the help of the night clerk and he gets the manager back to check the pool.

We look and look, but no ring. We had one one last look before self-destruction. There it was, right in the center of the pool. Saved again! At this point, most people would learn. So I thought it was now my turn. And I didn't. I watched that ring like it was the Hope Diamond.

The next day came, and I was not going to let the past haunt us. So I made up with my wife and watched that ring.

As we are driving out the exit from the Lodge driveway, I say to my sweetie, "You know, in spite of all that stress, we survived. Let's just take a picture of the Lutsen Resort sign, so years later, we'll know where all these pictures were taken. OK?" She agrees. I say, "Sweetie, where's the camera?" She says, "In the trunk." I go to the trunk, pull the keys out of my pocket, open the lid, lay the keys down on a suitcase and slammed the lid! We both take turns posing in front of the road sign and then get back into the car to drive away. She says, "I think we should hurry a little because we might miss our train to Minneapolis back in Duluth. We've only got a couple of hours left." OK, just let me find the car keys.

I'll never forget that look on her face. You know the look. That one on Star Trek--where Captain Kirk says to Scottie, "Beam me up, there are no intelligent life forms down here on this planet."

Back at the lodge -- you know, the one we can't leave -- I call for a tow truck. He promptly gets there. The driver suggests that he disassemble the back seat to get the keys, and he did. We rush back to the train station just in time. As we are seated--both exhausted from the run, we pause and look at each other. Isn't this great?

Jerome G. McCallson has several relatives in the Mabel and Lanesboro areas.