Sonny Lindquist of McLean was leafing through the HOMES FOR SALE ads a couple of Sundays ago when he noticed a familiar address: 7107 Valleycrest Blvd., Annandale.

Why familiar? Because Sonny used to live there. He sold the house at that address in 1975.

Curious about how the old homestead looked, Sonny hopped in the car and drove over. The current owner turned out not to be the person who had bought the place 12 years ago. In fact, the house had changed hands several times. It had changed its looks, too, chiefly in the basement, where the ceiling had been finished with soundproof tiles.

Sonny had a look around, said thanks to the real estate agent and left. That should have been that. But a few days later, the phone rang. It was the real estate agent, asking Sonny if he knew anything about a high school class ring, class of 1953, University High School, Lexington, Ky., that had been found in the Valleycrest house that afternoon by current owner Susan Hilbert.

Knew anything about it? Sonny had been looking for the ring for the better part of 20 years.

"It vanished one day. I never knew what became of it," Sonny said. "Well," said the real estate agent, "you're not going to believe this, but it was on top of one of the ceiling tiles in the basement."

Actually, Sonny did believe it. "When my son was a teen-ager," he told me, "he used to go down in the basement to smoke cigarettes -- you know, hoping I wouldn't catch him. He used to hide ashtrays on top of the rafters. I used to reach up there and find ashtrays all the time. Maybe the ring slipped off my finger while I was reaching and landed up there. Or maybe he took the ring from his mother's jewelry box for some reason."

In any case, Sonny has now been reunited with his ring, purple stone and all. Says our happy former Annandalian: "It was like seeing an old friend."

Metro drivers giveth, and Metro administrators taketh away.

Cathryn D. Buit of Gaithersburg writes with news of what she calls "a heart-warming event."

She was stopped in traffic one Thursday morning about 8 a.m. on Jefferson Street in Rockville, opposite Bethany House, a home for the elderly. A Metrobus was nearing the bus stop on the corner when "a frail woman with a cane" hobbled out of Bethany House's door.

The woman obviously wanted to catch the bus. But just as obviously, she was moving too slowly to get to the bus stop in time. She waved her cane at the driver, and he saw her. But when the woman saw that the light had turned green, she motioned to the driver to go on and forget about her.

The driver did no such thing. As Cathryn watched, he stopped the bus, walked across four lanes of rush hour traffic, took the woman's arm in his and escorted her back across four lanes of traffic to the bus. Says Cathryn: "It certainly started my day off on a good note."

The note turned flat by about three octaves when Cathryn attempted to tell Metro officaldom about their man's good deed.

She called consumer assistance. She was cut off.

She called consumer assistance back. She was dumped on hold for what seemed like an eternity.

She gave up and called public affairs. The phone rang 15 times without being answered.

She hung up and redialed public affairs. Someone from marketing happened to be walking through. He asked if he could put Cathryn on hold. She said she really couldn't hold any longer.

So the marketing man suggested that he transfer Cathryn back to consumer assistance. She thanked him politely and hung up -- permanently.

Thanks to Fern Fleischer of Northwest for another wonderful submission to our collection of incomprehensible road signs.

Fern's sign stands along a highway in northern Georgia. It's a combination route sign, for two highways that share the same stretch of pavement.

The top route sign says 22 WEST.

The one right below it says 78 EAST.

Bob Orben remembers the good old days, when a covert operation was adjusting your shorts.


Your lawyer needs to go back to law school -- or perhaps back to first grade, to learn how to read.

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 does not permit you to take a tax deduction for a doghouse. It doesn't matter that you have been the sole support of your dog. Nor does it matter that you spent $2,000 to have a contractor build the doghouse.

Could it be that your lawyer was kidding? Just a hunch, but I hope it's a correct hunch.