Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Prized Possession

If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you would grab (besides your kids and the hubs, natch!) before you ran out the door? For the longest time I thought it would be my pictures. I have a black box w/ dividers designed specifically for the purpose of storing, I don't know, a THOUSAND or so pictures. It rocks the house and has been one of the best investments I've ever made. But I think I'd risk losing all of our family's memories on Kodak paper to save what I feel is one of my most prized possessions... my grandmother's wedding ring.

Years before my grandmother passed away, she started giving me things. Random things. A pair of red sheer curtains here, a mod 1970's polyester top there. Then she began to give me more personal things: Her beautiful gold watch from the 1940's (IN THE BOX), and then her mother's ring. I would try to protest my displeasure of the "giving away" of her treasures, but she INSISTED that she wanted me to have them so she could be around to see me enjoy them. I couldn't argue with that kind of logic, even though it made me super sad to think about the reason behind her gift giving: she was preparing for the inevitable. And I guess she wanted to make sure certain things were received by certain people. By giving them in advance, she could make sure her wishes were followed.

But one day, she completely floored me. I had been to her house for some delicious Sunday dinner, and she went to her room and came out with her wedding band and told me she wanted me to have it. My grandfather had passed almost 20 years before, but even before that, I never remembered her wearing it. It was well worn, however, having almost taken the shape of her finger. The embossing around the ring had been worn away too, but she said that it used to be a beautiful vine with intricately detailed leaves. I was in love with it from the first time I saw it.

My dad filled in some of the blanks for me later. He said that when my grandparents married, they didn't buy each other wedding rings. Money was tight and I guess they felt that rings for each other were a luxury and not a necessity. My dad says that he can remember my grandmother buying the ring for herself, with her own money that she had worked for, when he was young. He said she was so proud of it and was so happy that she got to pick out what she wanted.

My Mimi (as I called her) was not able to come to my wedding. Her ring was my "something old" that I wore that day as well as a representation of her presence, which I missed dearly. Sitting at her house a month or so later, we poured over my wedding pictures together and I would point out her ring and say, "Look Mimi, you WERE there!" I think that made her extremely happy.

From that day on, I've continued to wear my grandmother's wedding ring. Now that she's in heaven, I'll talk to the ring when I'm putting it on. I'll say something like, "Well, Mimi, today we are going to a graduation." Or I'll say, "C'mon Mimi, we've got to get to church!" LOL! I feel like when I'm wearing her ring, a part of her is still with me. Mimi has accompanied me to Nashville for my sister's bachelorette party, on vacations to the beach and to the mountains, to the hospital to celebrate births, to funeral homes to say my good-byes, and even to Mobile to a Mardi Gras ball. I think she would have really liked Mardi Gras. She was a woman who always enjoyed a good time!

So I guess if, heaven forbid, I hear the smoke alarm late one night, it will be a natural reaction for me to go and rescue Mimi from the jewelry box. More than a prized possession, her ring is almost an extension of ME now, like it was for her for so many years. I hope she knows how much I love it (and her!) and how happy it makes me to have ownership of this little treasure!

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