Sabrina Bayha of a tiny place called Lolo, Mont., picked the wrong day to go to town for groceries. She missed the mailman.
"Wow, can't believe all this," is how Sabrina described the last few weeks of her life. "I keep hearing that old song they turned into a ketchup commercial running through my head ... 'Anticipation, it's making me wait.'"
So, she had to wait another day to get a package that finally came, insured to make sure that this package made it, from western Ohio. And she tore it open.
She knew what was coming, had exchanged countless e-mails and phone calls with a stranger from Ohio with a heart as golden as what was inside the package, but she had to be sure.
Inside there was a King James Bible, and a note. The note said, "God always knew who 'R.A.L.' was."
Wrapped up tightly inside the package she found a 1957 Rock Hill High School class ring. She looked at the inside of the band and found the letters "R.A.L."
"It's here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" she wrote to me in an e-mail.
"It" is a ring. And "R.A.L." was her mother, Rebecca Ann Lee, "Becky Lee." The sole "R.A.L." in that class of about 260 students.
Becky Lee had lost that ring decades ago, before Sabrina was even born, in a place called Weeki Wachee Springs, outside Tampa, Fla.
Sabrina recalled that her mother, who died at age 62 in 2003, often told her the story of losing that ring while swimming, and "how she spent hours looking for it that day."
Becky Lee went on with life after losing that ring, had her only daughter, Sabrina, was married twice. Her classmates in Rock Hill had lost contact with her, only finding out a couple of years ago when planning for their class' 50th reunion that Becky Lee, Becky Orr by the end of her life, had died.
In 1979, a former Navy man named David Paxton was diving in that Florida spring with buddies when he found the ring in about 2 feet of water. He kept that ring in his medicine cabinet, wondering where "Rock Hill High School" was until the Internet led him here to Rock Hill and this newspaper. I found out the ring belonged to Becky Lee, and she had passed, but that she had a daughter in something called Lolo, Mont.
Paxton then took over.
He contacted Sabrina and got her mailing address. He contacted several carriers before determining that he would use the U.S. Postal Service.
"The only way I could be sure somebody would be accountable for where that ring was, that I could follow it, until it got to Mon-tana and her finger," Paxton said.
Paxton even sent me daily reports that tracked the ring from Lima, Ohio, through the Midwest, to Lolo.
A stickler for detail is Paxton, the former engineer now truck driver, and man who does what he says he will do. Paxton decided that the ring must find Sabrina.
Sabrina told me that ring will forever show her about the goodness of people, and it is another, maybe now her fondest, reminder of her mother, "R.A.L.," the lovely Becky Lee.