"The Gold Ring"

Category: "Air Force"
Les Gar Frazier on Jan. 9, 2021

We moved to this address in Georgetown, Texas 24 years ago. We bought a lot on a bluff overlooking woods and the South San Gabriel River. Since we were the first to build in the area, woods bordered us on the east, north and west.

At the time, I had a large Doberman Pincher who loved to frolic in the woods, I would take him out daily for a romp and was surprised one day to find a sign on a tree to the east of me that read “NO TRESPASSING.” I wasn't sure if the sign included the trail that ran through the woods so I called the police department and asked them to come out and take a look. The department sent out a brand new officer by the name of Terbush and we walked along in the woods. He didn't see anything that would make the trail private property, and told me so.

As we were walking along, he stooped over and picked up a bent gold high school ring. We stopped to examine the ring, and, while it was twisted, it looked repairable. We could tell the name of the Austin, Texas high school, and the initials of the owner were readable inside the band. I told Officer Terbush that I had this happen to me once before, and if he wanted I'd see if I could find the owner. He gave the ring to me, we finished our inspection and he left.

[Once I found a ring in a cigar box in my desk at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand. The ring was an undamaged man's ring, came from Stephan F. Austin State University in Nacogbdoches, Texas and had initials inside the band. I wrote the school asking for the name and address of the owner. The school wrote back that it was against policy to tell me who the ring belonged to; but they had written the owner, and if he was interested in having it returned, they had given him my address.

The owner did write me and I returned the ring [I believe the guy still owes me a couple of cases of beer].

About a week later, I received a call from a lady who I could tell was black by the way she pronounced her words. She told me she had bought the ring for her son because - the only thing he had ever accomplished was to graduate from high school, and she wondered why he hadn't been wearing it lately.

I told her I'd be driving a white pickup and we agreed to meet at an Austin Popeye's Drive Inn at a certain date and time, and I'd return the ring to her.

I arrived first, and pretty soon she and her son drove up in an older - shabby car. It was hot and I could tell she didn't have air conditioning because all the windows were down.

She was only one space away from me and I could hear her urging her son to get out and come over to me and get his ring. In the short space it took him to walk over - he managed to put on the surly, hostile face and a swagger so many of the black teenagers seem to think is an appropriate bearing. Without leaning forward to where I could see his face, he said, “You have my ring?”

Let's see some ID,” I said. My demand was unexpected and blindsided him, and he looked to his Mom for help [she had been watching him like a hawk].

She said to me, “I have his driver's license.” Then. “James, come over here and get your driver's license.”

In the short space it took him to become embarrassed because Mom had his driver's license, he lost his strut as he retrieved it and showed it to me. I held it much longer than necessary, saying, “step back from my pickup so I can see who you are.” He complied. No hostile or surly look now.

When I was satisfied, I handed him the ring, and as he started back to his Mom's car, his Mom said, “don't forget to thank the gentleman.” Which he did.

A couple of weeks later, the kid's Mom called me again. She apologized for his rudeness and thought it was because he had been caught [or at least his ring had been caught] in Georgetown, Texas, where he had been forbidden to go. She also told me she called the ring company and found that if she would send it back to them, they would fix it free of charge. She said she had done that but hadn't heard back from them other than to acknowledge receipt of the ring. As I recall, the ring was made by one of the more popular school ring makers, so I'm sure she got it back. I wonder if the kid started wearing it again? In fact, the kid would be about 40 years old now. I wonder whatever happened to him? I hope his Mom is still alive. She was a nice lady who was trying to raise her son properly!

We moved to this address in Georgetown, Texas 24 years ago. We bought a lot on a bluff overlooking woods and the South San Gabriel River. Since we were the first to build in the area, woods bordered us on the east, north and west.

At the time, I had a large Doberman Pincher who loved to frolic in the woods, I would take him out daily for a romp and was surprised one day to find a sign on a tree to the east of me that read “NO TRESPASSING.” I wasn't sure if the sign included the trail that ran through the woods so I called the police department and asked them to come out and take a look. The department sent out a brand new officer by the name of Terbush and we walked along in the woods. He didn't see anything that would make the trail private property, and told me so.

As we were walking along, he stooped over and picked up a bent gold high school ring. We stopped to examine the ring, and, while it was twisted, it looked repairable. We could tell the name of the Austin, Texas high school, and the initials of the owner were readable inside the band. I told Officer Terbush that I had this happen to me once before, and if he wanted I'd see if I could find the owner. He gave the ring to me, we finished our inspection and he left.

[Once I found a ring in a cigar box in my desk at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand. The ring was an undamaged man's ring, came from Stephan F. Austin State University in Nacogbdoches, Texas and had initials inside the band. I wrote the school asking for the name and address of the owner. The school wrote back that it was against policy to tell me who the ring belonged to; but they had written the owner, and if he was interested in having it returned, they had given him my address.

The owner did write me and I returned the ring [I believe the guy still owes me a couple of cases of beer].

About a week later, I received a call from a lady who I could tell was black by the way she pronounced her words. She told me she had bought the ring for her son because - the only thing he had ever accomplished was to graduate from high school, and she wondered why he hadn't been wearing it lately.

I told her I'd be driving a white pickup and we agreed to meet at an Austin Popeye's Drive Inn at a certain date and time, and I'd return the ring to her.

I arrived first, and pretty soon she and her son drove up in an older - shabby car. It was hot and I could tell she didn't have air conditioning because all the windows were down.

She was only one space away from me and I could hear her urging her son to get out and come over to me and get his ring. In the short space it took him to walk over - he managed to put on the surly, hostile face and a swagger so many of the black teenagers seem to think is an appropriate bearing. Without leaning forward to where I could see his face, he said, “You have my ring?”

Let's see some ID,” I said. My demand was unexpected and blindsided him, and he looked to his Mom for help [she had been watching him like a hawk].

She said to me, “I have his driver's license.” Then. “James, come over here and get your driver's license.”

In the short space it took him to become embarrassed because Mom had his driver's license, he lost his strut as he retrieved it and showed it to me. I held it much longer than necessary, saying, “step back from my pickup so I can see who you are.” He complied. No hostile or surly look now.

When I was satisfied, I handed him the ring, and as he started back to his Mom's car, his Mom said, “don't forget to thank the gentleman.” Which he did.

A couple of weeks later, the kid's Mom called me again. She apologized for his rudeness and thought it was because he had been caught [or at least his ring had been caught] in Georgetown, Texas, where he had been forbidden to go. She also told me she called the ring company and found that if she would send it back to them, they would fix it free of charge. She said she had done that but hadn't heard back from them other than to acknowledge receipt of the ring. As I recall, the ring was made by one of the more popular school ring makers, so I'm sure she got it back. I wonder if the kid started wearing it again? In fact, the kid would be about 40 years old now. I wonder whatever happened to him? I hope his Mom is still alive. She was a nice lady who was trying to raise her son properly!

We moved to this address in Georgetown, Texas 24 years ago. We bought a lot on a bluff overlooking woods and the South San Gabriel River. Since we were the first to build in the area, woods bordered us on the east, north and west.

At the time, I had a large Doberman Pincher who loved to frolic in the woods, I would take him out daily for a romp and was surprised one day to find a sign on a tree to the east of me that read “NO TRESPASSING.” I wasn't sure if the sign included the trail that ran through the woods so I called the police department and asked them to come out and take a look. The department sent out a brand new officer by the name of Terbush and we walked along in the woods. He didn't see anything that would make the trail private property, and told me so.

As we were walking along, he stooped over and picked up a bent gold high school ring. We stopped to examine the ring, and, while it was twisted, it looked repairable. We could tell the name of the Austin, Texas high school, and the initials of the owner were readable inside the band. I told Officer Terbush that I had this happen to me once before, and if he wanted I'd see if I could find the owner. He gave the ring to me, we finished our inspection and he left.

[Once I found a ring in a cigar box in my desk at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand. The ring was an undamaged man's ring, came from Stephan F. Austin State University in Nacogbdoches, Texas and had initials inside the band. I wrote the school asking for the name and address of the owner. The school wrote back that it was against policy to tell me who the ring belonged to; but they had written the owner, and if he was interested in having it returned, they had given him my address.

The owner did write me and I returned the ring [I believe the guy still owes me a couple of cases of beer].

About a week later, I received a call from a lady who I could tell was black by the way she pronounced her words. She told me she had bought the ring for her son because - the only thing he had ever accomplished was to graduate from high school, and she wondered why he hadn't been wearing it lately.

I told her I'd be driving a white pickup and we agreed to meet at an Austin Popeye's Drive Inn at a certain date and time, and I'd return the ring to her.

I arrived first, and pretty soon she and her son drove up in an older - shabby car. It was hot and I could tell she didn't have air conditioning because all the windows were down.

She was only one space away from me and I could hear her urging her son to get out and come over to me and get his ring. In the short space it took him to walk over - he managed to put on the surly, hostile face and a swagger so many of the black teenagers seem to think is an appropriate bearing. Without leaning forward to where I could see his face, he said, “You have my ring?”

Let's see some ID,” I said. My demand was unexpected and blindsided him, and he looked to his Mom for help [she had been watching him like a hawk].

She said to me, “I have his driver's license.” Then. “James, come over here and get your driver's license.”

In the short space it took him to become embarrassed because Mom had his driver's license, he lost his strut as he retrieved it and showed it to me. I held it much longer than necessary, saying, “step back from my pickup so I can see who you are.” He complied. No hostile or surly look now.

When I was satisfied, I handed him the ring, and as he started back to his Mom's car, his Mom said, “don't forget to thank the gentleman.” Which he did.

A couple of weeks later, the kid's Mom called me again. She apologized for his rudeness and thought it was because he had been caught [or at least his ring had been caught] in Georgetown, Texas, where he had been forbidden to go. She also told me she called the ring company and found that if she would send it back to them, they would fix it free of charge. She said she had done that but hadn't heard back from them other than to acknowledge receipt of the ring. As I recall, the ring was made by one of the more popular school ring makers, so I'm sure she got it back. I wonder if the kid started wearing it again? In fact, the kid would be about 40 years old now. I wonder whatever happened to him? I hope his Mom is still alive. She was a nice lady who was trying to raise her son properly!


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