In 2009, during one fateful cast at her and husband’s favorite fishing spot, a prized anniversary ring slipped off Christina Handsaker’s right ring finger. She was gutted.
“I thought it hit the ground, and we looked but we never found it,” Christina said.
At that same well-worn Willow Lake fishing spot just two weeks ago, Christina glanced at the ground and spotted what she at first thought was a piece of metal amid the dirt.
There it was: Their anniversary ring, recovered 12 years after it was lost. It turned out to be the couple’s most prized catch at their longtime honey hole.
And if it seems hard to believe, it was for them, too.
“If I hadn’t been there, I would have never believed it,” said Tony Handsaker, Christina’s husband of 23 years.
The Klamath Falls couple first met at the old American Feed and Farm Supply on Washburn Way. Tony, 22 at the time and an employee, walked Christina, then 17, and her mom around the store asking if they needed help. Christina’s mom told her that Tony must have had a crush.
“I’m like, ‘OK mom, whatever,’” Christina said. “But I saw him and I thought he was kind of cute.”
She later learned that she went to church with Tony’s grandparents, who were trying to play a bit of matchmaker They had been telling him about the girl in the black lace dress.
Weeks later, Tony called Christina’s house, asked specifically for her and told her that part of their order was ready. But more importantly, because this was 1998, he asked: “Do you want to go see Titanic with me?”
They were married eight months later.
For their 10-year anniversary, Tony bought Christina the ring, a band from Fred Meyer with a row of diamonds on it. The next fishing season, the ring slipped off Christina’s finger.
“It was a sentimental value that I was so heartbroken about,” Christina said.
“We couldn’t find the dang thing,” Tony said.
The couple fish the same spot on Willow Lake “where all the fish are at” whenever they can, and they’ve looked for the ring there over the years.
Then on May 26, with Tony off work and their three kids in school, the couple decided they’d make a trip to their old fishing spot.
“I’m getting all set up, getting rigged up and she’s like, ‘Hey, remember that ring I lost here?’” Tony said.
Christina said she picked up the object she saw jutting out of the dirt and discovered it was her long lost ring.
“All the diamonds are still intact and everything,” Christina said. “A little dirty. But other than that it wasn’t bent. Nothing.”
Between snow melt, the steep bank and the fact that “everybody freakin’ fishes in that spot,” Tony said he was shocked the ring could even be found all these years later.
“I don’t know how the heck somebody else didn’t find it,” Tony said. “But it must have been in the dirt pretty good and got smooshed. And then finally erosion or whatever got it pushed away.”
As an anniversary band, Christina was wearing the ring on her right hand opposite her wedding band on her left. But now she’s wearing it on her left hand along with wedding ring, she said. Her fingers are a little bigger than they were 13 years ago and the fit of the ring is a little more snug, so Christina said she’s not worried about losing it again.
To top it off, the couple caught their limit of fish the day they found the ring.