WILLIAMSTOWN >> When I traveled to Long Island to attend an engagement party for my granddaughter Alyssa and her fiance Steve a couple of months ago, I was wearing my wedding ring and my late husband Bill's wedding ring.

The day I returned to Williamstown, I was also wearing a diamond ring on the fourth finger of my left hand, which myth tells us contains a vein that connects to the heart.

No, I am not newly engaged to be married, nor is the diamond ring the one Bill slipped on my finger the night he proposed.

That night, Bill showed up unexpectedly at my home, where I lived with my parents and sister Gloria. A few minutes later, my mother, Bill and I were in the living room when he got down on bended knee.

"Phil, come quick, Bill is proposing to Phyllis," my mother called out to my father who was ensconced in the den, watching television.

"Tell him to wait until 'Bonanza' is over," Father said matter-of-factly, referring to the TV Western series. Mother marched into the den. And a moment later, Father followed her back into the living room, sheepishly.

After Bill and I married and were blessed with two children,Christopher and Jennifer, we all enjoyed many a weekend at my parent's home.

One Saturday morning, I removed my engagement ring when preparing to bathe Jennifer, lest it scratch her tender skin. I tucked the ring into my handbag, but when I wanted to retrieve it that afternoon, it was gone.


To this day, I do not know what happened to that ring.

More than a decade later, Bill and I dined in a certain restaurant for sentimental reasons. As I picked up the napkin at my place setting, a diamond ring fell from it. "Happy anniversary," Bill said, a twinkle in his eye, a smile on his lips.

I never removed from my finger what I thought of as my second engagement ring.

One winter day in 2014, I discovered there was an empty space in that ring where the diamond should have been.

A widow, I had no one to help me search the house or retrace my steps from the house to the car, as I had just returned from the Milne Library.

It had grown near to closing time at the library, so I called and told Pat Patterson, a longtime employee there, of my dilemma. "We'll look for your diamond, and we'll tell the cleaning people not to vacuum tonight," she said.

Later as I walked into my bedroom to fetch my night clothes, I saw something sparkling on the rug. Hallelujah it was the diamond.

I tried to find a jeweler who could reset my diamond, but everyone I went to said, "We don't do that here."

My daughter suggested that when I came to Long Island to celebrate Christmas with all of my family, I take my ring to a jeweler near her home who she knew was reliable.

As it turned out, the jeweler had to order the type of Tiffany setting used in my ring and it would not be delivered until after I had to be back in Williamstown.

My daughter stepped up, "I'll take care of everything, Mom," she said. The plan was for her to hold onto the ring for me once it was reset and then give it back to me when we were together in Williamstown on my birthday in February.

But life happened (too long a story for here and now). Jennifer and I were not together again until I went to Long Island in November 2015.

At my granddaughter's engagement party, I was beaming, too, for at last I was again wearing all three of the rings I treasure. They are constant reminders that love, like the circle of a ring, never ends.

Phyllis McGuire writes from her home in Williamstown.