COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Enid Thompson had been battling a cold for two weeks. She thought it just made sense to vote by mail instead of standing in a long line at their precinct at Cottonwood High School.
Her husband, Jay, wouldn't hear of it.
"He told me, 'It's more patriotic to go to the polls,'" she said.
So about 10 a.m. on Election Day, the Thompsons went to vote. There, they had a chance meeting with old friends Noel and Mary Beth Gold.
Seeing them jogged Enid's memory about a man's wedding ring she found during a holiday dinner at their LDS Church ward house in Murray back in the early 1970s. It was engraved with the initials M & N.
She asked Noel if he had lost his ring. "He just stepped back and went pale," Enid Thompson said.
"I told him, 'I have it.' I think he had to hold on to the table," Enid Thompson said.
The last time Noel Gold saw his wedding ring was in 1966. He had lent it to his 12-year-old son Richard, who needed a neckerchief slide for his Boy Scout uniform. During the activity, the boy removed the neckerchief and the ring was lost. The family returned to the ward building that night to search for it but they were unable to find it.
The Golds never replaced the ring because no other would be as precious as the original, they said.
Noel's fiancee, Mary Beth Elg, worked part-time at a dime store and saved her earnings until she could afford the ring she wanted to give her husband.
"I paid cash," she said, "I wanted a nice one." She also had it engraved with their initials and gave it to him on their wedding day, Nov. 4, 1943. They were married at the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Shortly thereafter, Noel shipped out with the Army to serve in the European Theater. The ring was a reminder of home. He wore it every day until he lent it to his son.
Asked why he let his son borrow it, Noel Gold shrugs his shoulders. "He was a real hyper-type kid," he said, smiling.
The ring apparently became lodged in an air return along a wall in the chapel. That's where Enid Thompson spotted it while standing in line at a holiday dinner in the early 1970s. The ring was standing on end.
For years, she attempted to find the rightful owner. For safe keeping, she stored the ring in a tiny lace envelope in her jewelry box.
For some odd reason, the Golds had been unable to get their telephone number published in telephone directories, which made it difficult for the Thompsons and the Golds to stay in touch. Over time, their ward split. Although the couples remained in the same LDS stake, they saw one another only occasionally.
It wasn't until Election Day that everything came together. Mary Beth profusely thanked Enid, although Enid believes divine intervention was involved.
"Don't thank me, it's Heavenly Father. He's the only one who could have put that in my mind," Enid Thompson said.
As for Richard, he describes the events that returned the ring to his father as "pretty amazing.
"When you have a silly son like that, you have to have a backup plan. It just took 30 years for it to come around," said Richard Gold in telephone interview from his Fresno, Calif., home.
Mary Beth Gold said this year's Election Day was especially memorable. "We went to vote and we got a ring!"
Two days later, Mary Beth and Noel — both 87 years young — celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary.
Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com