Jo Ann Jaacks: Lucy in the sky with diamonds

There’s a convoluted history to John Lennon’s most intriguing and fantastical song. Lennon admitted he was influenced by an LSD experience, plus Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, but claimed it was not intended as a “drug song.” Allegedly, John Lennon’s young son drew his own fantastical image in nursery school and gave it that title. At any rate, this ditty ushered in the psychedelic phase of Beatles music and I loved the imagery of a diamond-studded sky.

I’ve always thought of myself as being positive and upbeat, although that’s become a challenge lately, so my mind often wanders back to happier times, or not even happier, just different from now. I was listening to the “Lucy” song online and remembered when I found diamonds in the dirt at the gas station in south Florida. As I got ready to pump, I noticed something small and very shiny in the searing tropical sun. When I reached down to pick it up, another something small and very shiny fell out of its paper wrap. I noticed the marking “2x 1.20 ct” on the loosely folded paper nearly ground into the loose dirt. I looked around, realizing I was the only car there.

I drove home much slower than usual, with my heart beating much faster than usual and my mind flashing through its own psychedelic phase of wandering. Halfway there, I abruptly changed course and headed towards my dentist’s office building. It was a weekend so he wasn’t there but the tiny jewelry shop adjacent to his door was open. This was where I always stopped in after a particularly tortuous dental appointment. The owner was surprised to see me, and instantly curious when I set the small paper on his counter. He noted the markings, looked up at me with interest, and removed the two shiny stones.

“I’ll be right back,” he said. When he returned several minutes later, I started to explain but he interrupted. “Do you want me to make these diamonds into earrings for you or do you want to sell them?” “They’re real?” I stuttered. He assured me they were very good quality diamonds and worth thousands of dollars. “It’s not that unusual for someone in the trade to carry these in his pocket,” he said. “There’s no way to know who they belong to and obviously he didn’t know where he lost them or you would not have found them. It’s also very possible in Miami that these were smuggled or stolen, but again, no way to know.”

My husband and I had recently lost our home to foreclosure and been forced to file bankruptcy due to a disastrous business partnership. Thousands of dollars would come at a most opportune time to bounce back. I did a lot of soul-searching, I talked to people whose counsel I respected and valued, and I recalled all the Miami Herald headlines over the years about millions of dollars of stolen goods and cars hidden in warehouses, religious relics, priceless artworks and ancient treasures purloined and yes, large amounts of gold and diamonds smuggled from their rightful owners and country.

What would you do?