It is 1995.
My father and I are outside the hardware store in Idyllwild, a small mountain community in Southern California. He’s sitting in the passenger seat of the truck and I’m standing next to it.
A car pulls in. Sarah Clayton gets out.
One of the good things about living in a small town are the people. Sarah and her husband, Chuck, are the best of the best.
When my father started having problems walking, they came over with a truck full of lumber and built a bridge from the porch to the street to make it easier for my father to get in and out of the house.
I can tell right away she is in distress. She walks over and I ask her if she’s okay. She holds out her left hand. On her ring finger is her engagement ring and wedding band, and another gold band with a stem of metal sticking out.
She has lost the pearl on a ring of great sentimental value. She is retracing her steps from her travels around town this morning. She knows she had it when she left home. We offer our sympathy and wish her good luck. She enters the hardware store.
I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes. I can’t keep deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning straight, but I am generally good at finding things.
I want to find her pearl. Very badly. My brain starts firing.
“You know, that cement they use doesn’t just stop working.”
My father agrees with me.
“So the pearl didn’t just ‘fall off’.”
Again, my father agrees with me.
“I’m thinking she hit it on something. I’m thinking that was most likely in a confined space.”
“If that’s correct, it’s most likely to have been a space confined on her left side.”
A picture flashes in my mind.
I look at Sarah’s car. I walk over and stick my head through the open window on the driver side door. I look down.
On the carpet between the seat and the door is the pearl.
I am happy to have found it for her. But the real reason I wanted to find it was my father is impressed.
I’m still eight-years-old inside.