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The case of the missing earring

Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi

When my daughter Teagan was born, her father gave me a pair of 1-carat diamond earrings to commemorate her birth. They are the most meaningful pieces of jewelry I have because they represent Teagan to me, and all the wonderful things she's brought to my life. Her father and I are no longer married but those are my "Teagan earrings" and I wear them all the time. Recently I was cleaning out the rental unit where we had been living after most of our things had already been moved into the new house. I had been using a vacuum and then happened to notice that one of my earrings was missing! I knew that it had just gotten lost within minutes because my ear still had the little red circular indentation where the earring had been. We looked EVERYWHERE for it – I opened the vacuum and sifted like an archeologist through every bit of dirt it had picked up, but no earring. We searched and searched but the earring was gone.

About a week later I took Teagan to LAX so she could fly to Florida to spend some time with her father. We were sitting and waiting, typical airport behavior, while a woman near us ate a bunch of McDonald's food from a "to-go" bag. We glanced at each other a few times without anybody speaking and then after awhile she nonchalantly said "You gotta diamond on your foot." Teagan and I thought she might be slightly kooky, like some random person you might encounter at LAX, and I looked at her a little puzzled and said "What?" And she gestured towards my foot and said "You gotta earring in your shoe." And I looked down and saw my missing earring wedged in the tread of my shoe! I was ecstatic! I had been wearing the same pair of shoes around town for a week, and somehow the earring hadn't fallen out. I was so delighted and gushing that I'm sure that woman quickly wished that I would just move away and go back to leaving her in peace. And after all that, the earring itself wasn't damaged, marked up or bent in any way – it was just missing the threaded back, which I have replaced. It was definitely a happy and unlikely ending to the case of the missing earring.

– Kris Thurman