THE LAST VIOLIN

It wasn’t often that we received a package from Sicily, so when one arrived that Tuesday afternoon between Christmas and the new year of 1964, we were all very excited. 

The family sat around the kitchen table as my mother painstakingly opened the brown paper, being careful not to tear the stamps which my father would place into one of his leather-bound albums. Finally the outer wrapping was removed, revealing a plain white box. My mother slid the cover off the box to find a card sitting atop pillows of tissue paper. Prolonging the excitement, she read the card silently to herself, then aloud, translating into English: 

“Dearest Concetta. We noticed how much you admired this while you were here on vacation. You left without buying it so here it is as a memento of your time spent with us. We hope you enjoy it as much now as you did then. With love – Cousins Paolo and Enza.” 

Slowly, carefully, Mom removed the tissue to reveal the most beautiful music box I had ever seen. It was a miniature violin, made of highly lacquered ebony with mother of pearl inlay. We all sat in wonder as my mother gently wound the music box, then placed it on the table as an ancient Sicilian folk song began to play. It was wondrous and I immediately fell in love. 

Cradling it tenderly in her hands, my mother moved the violin into the living room and placed it on the marble coffee table where it became the glistening centerpiece of the room. 

Several times each day I would wind up the music box to listen to the hauntingly beautiful tune. I never tired of the glorious melody and treated the violin like a treasure, always careful not to over-wind it. I listened, mesmerized, as the music slowed down and the final note was played. It was my delight for many years and I imagined it being mine one day. 

Decades later when my mom passed away, a few of her cherished items were placed in her coffin and buried with her … a small tin of pink sand from Bermuda where she and Dad honeymooned, a little toy horse which belonged to her precious firstborn who passed away at the age of two and, unbeknown to me, the magical violin music box. 

I grieved the passing of my beloved mother. I mourned the loss of that treasured music box … the first, last and only violin I would ever have. But now, during the lull between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I remember that Tuesday in 1964 when that violin entered our lives … and I smile.

NAR © 2017

THE BEACHCOMBER

I guessed that something was wrong as soon as I saw the look of shocked disbelief on my husband David’s face. 

Babe, what’s wrong?”

With tears in his eyes David whispered “I lost my wedding ring!”  

It was our last night in Cape Cod. After dinner we went for a walk on the beach. There was a lot of seaweed in the ocean from a storm a few days before. We walked along the shore, teasing each other with clumps of seaweed; that’s when the ring must have slipped off his finger. But exactly where we had no idea. We crawled around searching but it was dark and we couldn’t see anything. David was devastated. 

“Hon, I know your wedding ring means the world to you but we can always replace it.”   

“I know, Jess, but it just won’t be the same.” 

Dejected, we returned to our room and went to bed. After hours of trying to get to sleep, I grabbed my laptop and Googled “Will a ring wash ashore after falling in the ocean?” 

Almost immediately there was a *ding* on my laptop … a response from “TheRingFinders.com. It read: “We can help find any lost metallic object on the beach or in the water. Enter your zip code and we’ll get back to you ASAP .” 

I entered the zip code for Cape Cod and 10 minutes later I heard from Rick at “RingFinders”. After explaining our situation, Rick said he’d be at our B&B at 7:00 AM to start his search. Thank God for the Internet! 

True to his word, Rick was already on the beach at 7:00. We ate breakfast on the veranda, never taking our eyes off Rick as he searched everywhere with no luck. It was almost checkout time when he trudged up to the B&B.   

No luck, folks. You’re gonna get socked in traffic if you don’t leave now. I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’m not giving up. I’ll keep in touch with you either way.” 

Disheartened, we checked out and loaded up the car. Taking one last look at Rick, we waved goodbye when we realized he wasn’t waving goodbye … he was waving in excitement. He ran up the beach with his arm in the air, hand clenched in a fist.    

I found it, folks! I found your ring” he shouted. 

We ran to meet him and he grinned as he placed a wet, sandy ring in David’s hand.

The ring was under 11 inches of water and seaweed!

Overjoyed, David hugged Rick and we asked how much we owed him. 

“This is a free service we provide but we gladly accept donations” Rick explained. “Its very rewarding to see the joy on people’s faces when they’re reunited with their precious lost items.” 

I don’t remember how much we gave Rick … that’s not important. What I do remember is David glancing at his ring all the way home and smiling. 

What an experience and certainly an incredible act of kindness. Thanks, Rick!

Authors Note: Every word of this story is true and Theringfinders.com is a real organization. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction!

NAR © 2019