Petersen: Tallulah

And then there’s the story of cowgirl Tallulah (not her real name) who lost the diamond from her wedding ring. Tallulah is in the business of training horses. It happened the day she was riding across a whole lot of prairie — on a green-broke horse. Nice little dun mare named Pumpkin, newly acquired from a recent horse sale. She seemed sweet tempered, stepped along briskly, responded willingly.

Tallulah relaxed, enjoying the fresh spring-time day. She encouraged Pumpkin into a rocking-chair lope. Suddenly, a horrid life-threatening ogre — in the form of a sage grouse — popped out of the brush. The mare’s easy lope turned into a mad hysterical gallop.

Tallulah paid immediate attention. She death-gripped the reins and hung on praying Pumpkin wouldn’t start bucking. Eventually, the mare slowed and behaved with demure decorum on the way back to the corral.

It was as Tallulah was unsaddling Pumpkin that she noticed that the diamond which used to nestle in a gold-coil setting on her wedding ring had gone missing. Somewhere out on the wide-open prairie, there’s a several-karat diamond waiting to be found. Maybe by a raven or a magpie?

In any case, Tallulah took the damaged ring to a jewelry store for repair. As the jeweler, who strongly resembled Prince William, examined and cleaned the ring, two more diamonds fell out of their settings. The band itself was nearly worn through.

Prince William observed, “I’ve seen men completely wear out their wedding rings from working. Do you work that hard or take your gloves off and on a lot?”

For some seconds, Tallulah was struck speechless. Should she mention the mad race across the prairie?

“Oh,” she said, smiling sweetly, “I do take my gloves on and off fairly frequently. Of course, some of the wear could be from me twirling my parasol when I take my afternoon stroll. Or perhaps from holding on to the leash when I walk my poodle. Or possibly at the beauty salon where I get my nails done. It could be that the manicure solution eroded the gold band.”

Prince William, looking a bit perplexed, said, “I see.”

Tallulah’s smile grew brighter. “I’m just remembering that the last three times I wore an evening gown, I had to adjust the spaghetti straps. I recall the straps chafed my shoulders so quite often I needed to re-adjust them and in doing so, my ring would snag on a strap. Do you think that could be the reason the stone fell out?”

Prince William’s expression took on a somewhat frozen look. “Um,” he said as he returned to the task of cleaning the ring.

“OH” exclaimed Tallulah. “I bet I know! The stone fell out while I was taking a mud beauty bath at the health spa. I remember distinctly slipping as I was climbing into the mud and my ring caught on the tub edge!

Do you think that could be it?” Tallulah’s smile could have outshone a spotlight’s beam.

“Er, well,” answered Prince William. He placed the cleaned repaired ring in a tiny cotton-lined box and then into a small sack, one side of which was inscribed with the words: Jewelry Repair. He handed the package to Tallulah who shot him another beaming smile and said, “Thank you so much. I appreciate your prompt attention. I’m having tea with the queen next week and I’d hate it if I were ringless while chatting with her highness.”

As Tallulah swept out the door, she didn’t see Prince William bow his head and cradle his face in his cupped hands.

Dictum: Don’t ask a cowgirl: Do you work hard!