Ah, my dear, you've come back to me yet again.

This time, via UPS. Bubble-wrapped.

Our love affair started when I was 38 years old, living and working in Manhattan. While reading the New York Post sports page during my commute on the No. 104 bus line down Broadway, I realized I needed to squint pretty drastically to see the agate type of the box scores, which, back in the day, was the only way for a Mets fan to find out how Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry & Co. did the previous night.

So that week I stopped at Gruen Optika, also on Broadway, and got fitted for reading glasses. Brown tortoise-shell.

Since that time, I've been through I-don't-know-how-many readers. Who can hang on to a pair for more than a year? Eventually, I started buying drugstore brands by the bushel, placing them in my car, on my desk, and in every room in the house. Reading glasses? Dime a dozen.

But the eyeglass case was a different story. I was given that original pair of glasses in a slim, tasteful gray case, with subtle black striping, and the words "Gruen Optika" in a quiet font. Very discreet. The case fit snugly in the inside breast pocket of my sport coat. No bulge. Perfect.

The only downside was that because the case was so trim, it tended to get lost. Often. That case has fallen out of jacket pockets so many times and landed on the floor of the driver side of the car, in that thin lip between the seat and the door, that now when it's missing, I no longer panic. I know exactly where to look.

Of course, there've been other close calls in other locations, and some of them a lot more exotic than the inside of my car. Last winter, at the top of Bromley Mountain, I reached for the glasses -- but found the left pocket of my ski parka unzipped, and the glasses missing. As I was reporting the loss to the chairlift operator, another skier, overhearing me, said, "I saw a pair of glasses! I even made note of where they were -- between towers 13 and 14." I skied down, and there it was, right where she described it: a gray shape against the white snow.

Earlier this year, the elusive glasses went missing again, and again on a chairlift. I approached three red-jacketed members of the ski patrol at the summit with my problem. They all said they'd keep their eyes open. Yeah, sure. They were really going to find my glasses somewhere on the mountain.

Later in the day, as I was about to get in the corral for the lift, a red-jacketed ski-patrol woman flagged me down. "Found them!" she said.

Note to self: Try to remember to keep left pocket of ski parka zipped.

Which brings me to my most recent adventure. Came home on a Thursday night after an evening of theater in the city -- an extremely engaging revival of "Cabaret," starring Emma Stone, with Studio 54 brilliantly transformed into a cabaret-like venue -- small, lamp-lit cocktail tables -- a la the Kit Kat Club. Emptied my coat pockets onto the counter. Once again, no readers. Checked the car. No readers. Checked my wife's bag. No readers. Then it came to me. Damn! I must have left them on our cocktail table at the Kit Kat Club! Fat chance I'd ever see that pair of glasses again!

The next morning I called the theater. "Did you by any chance find ..."

"... a pair of glasses in a gray case?" the woman replied, before I could finish the question. "Yup, got 'em. Here's what we'll do." And she outlined her plan to ship them to me by UPS.

So now, gray Gruen eyeglass case, we've been reunited. I hope we never again must part. But I'm pretty sure we will.

Hank Herman is a Westport writer, and "The Home Team" appears every other Friday. You can follow him on his "Beagle Man" blog -- http://blog.ctnews.com/beagleman/ -- and on Twitter @BeagleManHank. He may be reached at DoubleH50@gmail.com.