About 15 years ago, the waters of Otsego Lake swallowed a ring that had slipped from a pinky finger.
In September, B.J. Coontz of Endicott visited Glimmerglass State Park north of Cooperstown to try his luck at finding precious or curious items with a metal detector. The treasure hunter found the ring that had slipped away.
And on Saturday, he returned the ring to its owner — Christine Benson of Worcester.
“It was just such a good feeling,” Coontz said Monday night.
Benson said she and Coontz arranged last week to meet at Oakdale Mall in Johnson City on Saturday afternoon. Her mother, Linda J. Butler, of Richmondville, joined her on the trip.
Benson said she had given up hope of recovering her class of 1988 Worcester Central School ring, which had been inscribed with her maiden name, Christine A. Rifenburgh. The ring easily could have been sold, she said, but instead an honest man had taken time and trouble to find the owner.
“He did it out of the kindness of his heart,” Benson said Monday.
Coontz said he figured the ring was lost last summer, not about 15 years ago.
“This is the first high school ring I've found,” he said. “This is the first time I've been able to reunite an item with its owner. … It's so exciting.”
The ring carries memories, Benson said, of high school days and friends and of her early courtship with Ronald Benson, now her husband. He had asked to wear the ring as a sign of their steady relationship, she said, and one day when they were in the swimming area at Glimmerglass State Park, the ring slipped off his pinky finger.
“We looked and looked and looked,” she said. “We tried frantically to find it.”
Benson said the ring had been lost on the right side of the swimming area facing the lake and had been found on the left side. Coontz told her he had waded into water about chest-level high when he found the ring.