These missing diamonds came home. Plus: Seen those ‘Love Your Butt’ ads?


The bus ad is part of a campaign called “Love Your Butt” to encourage people to have colon cancer screening. (Courtesy of Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation)
John Kelly
Columnist April 1

I understand that you probably don’t want to read about colonoscopies at the breakfast table. I promise to quickly change the subject. I do, however, have to briefly touch on that particular procedure, or, rather, on the preparation for it.

Occasionally over the past few months I’ve been sharing stories of remarkable reunions, cases in which people have found things that they thought were lost forever, including a diamond ring that was flushed down the toilet.

John Kelly writes "John Kelly's Washington," a daily look at Washington's less-famous side. Born in Washington, John started at The Post in 1989 as deputy editor in the Weekend section. View Archive

Sadly, they did not include the reader I heard from the other day, who said that in her constant to-ing and fro-ing to the bathroom in the lead-up to a colonoscopy (and I do apologize), she accidentally flushed her mother’s two-carat diamond ring.

I suppose my point is, sometimes diamonds aren’t forever.

But sometimes they are!


The bus ad is part of a campaign called “Love Your Butt” to encourage people to have colon cancer screening. (John Kelly/TWP)

Take Silver Spring’s Rosina Mason, for example. Around 1980, after a holiday dinner at home for the American University Singers, Rosina noticed that the diamond from her engagement ring was missing.

“The entire choir began looking for it,” she wrote. “You can imagine, with all the sparkly things that surround Christmas, how many thought they spotted it.”

After Christmas, the Masons hosted another dinner during which her husband, Vito, bit down on his salad and felt something hard.

A crouton? No, harder. Imagine something that was #10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Vito thought he’d lost a tooth and excused himself from the table to assess the damage.

When he returned, he asked Rosina to put out her hand, into which he placed the missing diamond.

How had it gotten into Vito’s salad bowl? The couple remembered that salad was also on the menu at the AU Singers dinner. Rosina thinks the diamond must have fallen off during that meal’s preparation.

“The diamond had been in the box of croutons all along,” she wrote. “How lucky we were that it wound up in Vito’s salad.”

And now we journey halfway around the world, to Dodoma, Tanzania, where Kafayatullah Rahmani was a civil engineer with East African Railways.

In 1966 he was transferred to Tabora, some 250 miles from Dodoma. While Kafayatullah’s wife, Jane Carol Rahmani, was packing for the move, the diamond from her wedding ring fell off somewhere in the house. Despite a thorough search, it could not be found.

When Kafayatullah left, he told his successor about the lost diamond.

Imagine his surprise when a couple of weeks later, his colleague got in touch to say the stone had been found. Kafayatullah met him at a railway station equidistant between the two African cities for the handover.

The diamond turned out to be a piece of glass.

The couple filed a claim with their insurance company and received a check.

“A few weeks later, my wife was going through a cardboard box in which she had packed our personal files before we left Dodoma and she found her diamond at the bottom of that box,” wrote Kafayatullah, who now lives in Manassas. “We were both very pleased to find it. I then refunded the claim amount to the insurance company.”

Rump party

I know I promised not to dwell on colonoscopies, but the other day I was behind a Metrobus whose rear end was adorned with an ad that read, “Love Your Butt” and “Fanny” and featured a photo of a denim-skirted pair of buttocks.

The ad, and others like it that began appearing around town last month, is a rather cheeky way of raising awareness of colon cancer. The group behind the ads is the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation, founded by Michael Sapienza, a one-time professional trumpet player who lost his mother, Christine, to colon cancer in 2009.

The campaign features actual backsides of actual people who have been touched in some way by colon cancer. The idea, said Chris4life’s Maurisa Potts, is to do for the bottom what some in the breast cancer lobby have done for the breast: make it kind of funny.

“A lot of people don’t talk about [colon cancer], basically because of the fear of getting a colonoscopy,” Maurisa said. “But screening is far less invasive than going through chemotherapy.”

The D.C. design agency Hugo Creative worked on the ads, which also feature other euphemisms for that vital piece of anatomy: buns, tuchus, hiney, tushy...

By the way, doctors recommend that you get a colonoscopy at age 50, 45 for African Americans, who have a higher prevalence of colon cancer, and earlier if you have a family history of the disease.

Twitter: @johnkelly

For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/johnkelly.

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