They’re good people

Guest written by Cliff Thomas

Bad things happen to good people, that is an unfortunate fact of life. This story deals with something bad that happened to someone good, but the story isn’t actually about that. The true subject of this story is the fact that good people sometimes happen to bad things, and when they do, it can be nice to stop and enjoy the show.

Robbie Sims is the type of neighbor you would like to have. Born and raised in the River Valley, he is known and liked by many long-time residents. Active in his church, a member of Awana, Robbie manages S&S Trailer leasing. If you saw him, he might seem familiar to you since he has served for over 15 years as a Sheriff’s reserve officer. Unfortunately, the afore mentioned bad thing happened to him.

About 5 years ago Robbie was the victim of a burglary. His family lost a number of valuable items, but only one thing in particular bothered him, his Russellville High School class ring. When class ring time rolled around he wanted to order a replacement, but the plates used to produce his ring were destroyed after the 85 school year. Of course the loss of a class ring, while regrettable, is certainly not life altering. He let it go and only thought about it at the end of every school year. Until, that is, this year.

On August 23, Jerry Bartlett of Yell County was using a metal detector around the Dardanelle side of the Lock & Dam. After getting a faint signal and digging a bit, he found what he at first thought was an old dirty piece of aluminum. This story would of course not be interesting if it were indeed just junk, but as some of you might have guessed by now, Jerry’s find was in fact Robbie’s ring. Found as mentioned before on the 23rd of August, Robbie’s birthday.

Jerry’s wife, Trudy, cleaned the ring and was concerned that whoever lost it might want it back. Without a thought of selling the solid gold piece of jewelry, they called the Russellville High School office and gave a full description of the ring. From there it was a simple matter of going through the 85 yearbook to see if they could find an R.T.S, the initials from one side of the ring. Three days later Robbie was on the phone with the Bartletts arranging to meet them at Wal-Mart.

“How will I know you?” Robbie asked.

“We’ll be in the pickup truck with the Ten Commandments on the tailgate.” Jerry replied.

As Robbie tells the story he plays with the ring; spinning and then handing it to me to show me the now irreplaceable design on the side.

“They were just really good people,” he says. “They could have sold it for the gold, but they went through the trouble of contacting the school, then drove in from Haney Hollow to bring it to me.”

He is smiling really big now, not simply at having his ring back but at the joy that comes with the realization that there are some really great people in the world.

“I tried to pay them,” he says. “Tried really hard, but they just wouldn’t take it. In the end the best I could do was to buy them dinner. Mr. Bartlett said they really did enjoy a nice buffet from time to time, so they at least let me do that.”

How the ring made it to the dam is a mystery. How it returned to Robbie is the good part of the story, good people happening to a bad thing. If you see a pickup in town with the Ten Commandments covering the tailgate, tip your hat or smile and wave. They’re good people.

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Category: On a Personal Note

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