Monday, August 16, 2010
A True HEA and Gold Wedding Bands
Before my husband and I married, our finances allowed only gold wedding bands—no engagement ring and no diamonds. Together, we shopped in the one jewelry store in town and found the perfect pair. The twin rings caught my eye, because the designer had chosen to create pieces of jewelry somewhat different from all the other choices.
The bands were thicker than normal, and somewhat wider than usual. Thin decorative edges circled the bands, and the surface of the gold displayed delicate cross-hatching. Over the years, daily use has worn the design smooth and shiny.
A few years ago on a long road trip, we wanted to arrive at our next destination before dark. Construction and delays, however, forced us to drive after sundown. To keep us alert on the busy interstate, we stopped at a convenience store to buy snacks.
As we continued our journey, we talked and laughed, and I unwrapped our ice cream bars to enjoy during the last few miles. Fifteen minutes later, after I had disposed of the wrappings in a trash bag, we settled back to watch the highway. Something felt odd about my hand, and I discovered my gold wedding band was missing.
“Stop!” I demanded.
Instantly alarmed, he said, “Here? I can’t. We’re in the middle of nowhere surrounded by eighteen-wheelers. I can’t pull off the highway. What’s wrong?”
His voice had risen over my crying and moaning. Missing the ring struck my heart as surely as though someone died.
“When’s the last time you remember having the ring?” he asked, attempting to remain calm. “Can you please settle down and let’s discuss this? Plus, I don’t want to have a wreck with all this distraction.”
Calming myself because I didn’t wish to die on the Interstate, I thought back. “It must be in the restroom trash. I washed my hands, dried them on paper towels, and threw the towels away. You remember that’s happened before, don’t you? One time when we were at a dance. I went to the restroom, and when I….”
“Okay, okay,” he interrupted. “You lost it before that, too, at the golf store when you tried on golf gloves. We had to retrace out steps thirty miles to find the ring in a glove. Remember?”
“Oh, I’d forgotten about that. How embarrassing.”
I guess he felt the need to console me a little. He said, “It’s understandable, but you really should be more careful. You shouldn’t even wear your ring when we travel.”
“Well, of course, you’re right. I’ll remember next time. But this isn’t helping me find the ring now.”
Slowing the vehicle, he told me, “I’ll exit on the next access road. We’ll have to drive back. That’s all we can do.”
“Wait!” I said.
Without speaking, I dug in the trash bag beside me. The ring safely lay among the ice cream wrappers. I began crying again, this time from happiness.
Many years later, we were driving on a state highway to visit relatives. Thirty miles from our destination, we stopped at a convenience store for a rest stop. When I stepped out of the women’s restroom, he stood by the men’s door.
“Hey,” he said, with a slight grin. “I lost my wedding ring down a drain.”
“What?” I cried in my usual manner of mild hysteria.
“Don’t get upset. The sink had no cover over the drain, and when I soaped and rinsed my hands, I heard a ‘clink, clink,’ and I knew the ring had gone down there.”
“Can you get it?”
“The manager has gone to find some tools. He said he’d remove the trap. That’s where it is. Won’t take a minute.”
To wait, I leaned on the wall. The manager returned, walked by me, and entered the restroom. After a few minutes, he left without his tools. My husband stuck his head out the door and said, “It wasn’t in the trap.”
“Where can it be?”
“He thinks it’s in the wall. Said the water flushed it down and up out of the trap. Well, I don’t think so. That ring’s too heavy.”
“What’s he going to do next?”
He shrugged. “Beats me. But I know that ring is somewhere in the drain.”
The manager returned with more tools and a flashlight.
For the next twenty minutes, I stood by the wall while strange men came and went from the restroom.
One stopped and asked, “Are you the little lady? They’re still working in there.”
Another one told me, “I think they’re going to tear out the wall.”
Still another said, “I think that ring’s long gone down the sewer.”
The manager emerged. I stopped him. “Sir, I know you’re working as hard as you can, but look.” I held up my left hand to show him my wedding ring. “See this ring? It’s decades old. That ring you’re looking for is, too. We need that ring.”
At last, they found the ring. Funny though, my husband retrieved it himself. While the manager left to find more tools and an ax to chop a hole in the wall, my husband peered down the drain with the flashlight. He saw it standing on its side on a small ledge made by a joint. He picked up a long screwdriver, slowly reached down the drain, snagged the ring, and carefully lifted it out. He had it on the screwdriver tip when the manager returned.
Since those episodes, I’ve thought about our rings and the many years we’ve lived together. Every marriage comes custom-built with potential failures, and if we’re lucky, subsequent victories. We lose some battles, but we win others. The goal in a partnership is overcome the losses, and move on, forgetting the upsets and fears.
No marriage enjoys perfection; no couple wants or expects it. But every young man and woman who begins a life together starts with the premise of “happily ever after.” The sad failures of many marriages are like the lost rings.
A couple might lose something valuable in a marriage, and instead of discussing the problem, they over-react. They should first determine where the problem began without bringing up past failures. Working jointly, they may find a solution that satisfies both. In order for the process to work, neither one should ever think they are always right.
True love endures, as if it’s solid gold.
Romance…and a little bit o' Texas
TEXAS BLUE-eBook and Print
SHOWDOWN IN SOUTHFORK—eBook
ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS-eBook and Print