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My Mom told me a fantastic story today. She’s been on a hard-earned vacation, a thirty plus-years seriously hard-earned vacation, for the last three weeks, and my folks returned to their cabin in the far woods today only to get snowed on a lot. I like, really, really feel bad for them. I do.

She told me that on her trip she took off her ring and put in the travel pouch with her passport, and then couldn’t find it when she arrived in the hard-earned tropical destination. She emailed airports and hotels in the place, but to no avail. She worried about that flat, fat ring of thick gold that they had traded their camera for so many years ago every night that they were on vacation, when they weren’t supposed to be thinking at all, only to find it in the Missoula Airport lost and found upon their return. It makes poetic sense, to me, because that is where they bought it, and because that is where their love started.

It made me think about rings, and the meaning behind them, tonight. What does the ring signify? I love to tell our teens about how HP proposed, because it was so delightfully backwards that they fall in teach with us every time we tell it, and because I fall harder for him with each telling. I was working on an outline for a paper on Habermas, have I told this story already? Maybe I have, but okay, I’m gonna do it again. I love it that much.  And I had just finished my outiline when he turned to me and said, “okay, so let’s drink some champagne !” He was so enthusiastic, still my favorite quality of his, that I nearly said yes, until I realized I had a paper to write still, and said “Are you crazy? I’m not doing that.”  And then he said, “Shoot, I did it backwards, I was supposed to ask you to marry me first. Here.” Then he gave me a ring, and now I never take it off. And then I said yes, and we kissed, and I wrote a terrible paper on Habermas, and then we called our parents to announce the good news. Totally backwards. If you were a teenage girl who took class from the both of us, you would totally swoon right now. Word. We are that awesome.

When D One was nearly two, HP lost his ring in the river. It was missing for two days until we went back to the river with a snorkel mask and I made him dive for it. We were about to give up, and then, as we were climbing the bank back up to the car, he looked back and saw something glinting out of the mud. Lord of the Rings style. Yes, it was the one true ring. So, there’s something to a ring.

Here:

The Missing Ring

This band of cheap gold and a tiny glint, the most romantic camera exchange with its sweet little gem holds more than your finger. It holds decades and then skin of your hands and all the enormous efforts. This ring is our church. This metal circle is my cradle, those minute lessons, her prophesied afternoons and grandchildren.

I give it to you, granddaughter. When it came my turn to proffer my finger, boy, I was surprised. There would be no other ring, that was clear, by the way it called to him, glinting in the silt, just after we’d given up looking.   It called to him, we did, from the riverbed, there for the retrieving.

Once a beggar came along, to try to take it. I would fight her security clearance tooth and tooth, and would never allow such repulsive tourism.

The ring means you tarry, you tarry here, and it is, and always was, precious.

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