Saturday, December 14, 2013

Seven Words

Many years ago, on our tenth anniversary, Larry gave me an anniversary band. At the time, a "Diamonds are Forever" campaign was underway, urging men to "give her something that says you'd marry her all over again".  During a tight financial year, this  gift was especially meaningful,  and I've taken good care of it.

The other day, while I was shopping for groceries, between ice cream and frozen vegetables, I heard a "clink". It was barely audible. I looked at the floor around me for something I might have dropped.  An old man noticed. "Lose something?" he asked, and started looking around with me.

But we found nothing.

That night, when I took off my rings, I discovered that my anniversary band was missing. I remembered that little "clink", realized that the metal had broken, and the ring had fallen from my finger.

The sadness at losing this was numbing.  More than missing the ring itself, was to remember what it symbolized: that at a time when it wasn't easy for him to do it, my husband had found this extravagant way to tell me, he'd marry me all over again.

You've probably had that sinking feeling when, even as you realize where you dropped or forgot something, even as you're placing the call to ask about it, you know the person at the other end will be of no help whatsoever. I've called hotels about forgotten jackets, restaurants about glasses, etc.  You wait while they open the door to the office, glance left and right and come back to tell you, "nope, not here." In the meantime,  you've already decided to shop for a replacement.

But there was no replacement for this  piece of jewelry and the statement it made after ten years of marriage, when normal pressures of raising small children, managing finances, negotiating schedules had  allowed us to show each other both the best and worst of ourselves.  And though we have since assured each other of our commitment without a gift or campaign to make the point, this ring represented  an important message at a time that is pivotal in any marriage.

So, my hopes were not high when I called Hannaford at nine-thirty that night to ask a tired, overworked part-timer if he or she would mind searching the floor in Frozen Foods, but that's what I did.

After a ten minute wait on hold, during which two other employees picked up to ask who I was holding for, Kathy from Customer Service was back.

"I have it," she said.
"You do not," I said.
"It's right here. I'm putting it in the safe until you get here."

I've thought about that campaign since, the symbolic importance of this lost and found ring.

It strikes me that of the things we feel for each other, the things we should say, I would marry you all over again, has more sway, more healing power than any other message.   It is not a message that  loses substance with time. It is not the "I love you" we toss out when we hang up the phone or leave the house.

It is also a message that can be as easily lost, forgotten, misplaced, broken as a piece of jewelry.

When it falls off, it may not be with more than a tiny clink , you may not notice right away, but when you discover it's gone, your first regret will be your failure to notice the crack and do something about it. And there won't always be a Hannaford employee to help you get it back when that happens.

So, do that.  Fuse those cracks. If you mean them, say those words:

I would marry you all over again.


20 comments:

  1. Beautiful story, message and marriage !

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  2. How lovely! "I would marry you all over again." I wonder how many could really say that? I'm one, though.
    Carol
    www.carolcassara.com

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  3. Oh Susan, this is beautiful. I had a similar experience too, only I found the ring in my sock drawer...after Jimmy had combed through the trash, after we'd ripped the car apart, after we each unpacked our packed bags, after we had called the babysitter with an eternity rings version of an APB...what I remember most is how throughout the whole hunt (which by the way delayed an anniversary trip get away) Jimmy remained unwaveringly loving. Being cherished never grows old...and yes, "I would marry you all over again," is exactly right.

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  4. That is wonderful story. I'm going to make sure that I remember those words.

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  5. Susan, this is some of your best writing. Vintage you. I love this...and I am so happy for you and Larry. Enjoy yet another Christmas with each other by the fire.....the view from the top of a snowy mountain this winter is beautifully and gracefully earned by both of you.xxoo Melanie

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  6. Thank you for theselovely comments and for sharing your thoughts about those seven words. I didn't tell Larry about the incident until the ring was fetched and delivered to a jeweler for minor repairs. But when I did, he had the same reaction that I did for the same reasons. I love that part of the story, too.

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  7. Thanks so much, Melanie...such a sweet compliment and cozy wish...back at you.

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  8. Really beautiful sentiment and something I VERY MUCH needed to hear today. Thanks.

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  9. Beautiful! And I'm so happy that you got it back.

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  10. I'm so glad you found your ring. I adore my wedding bands and engagement ring - I wear them every.single.day. If I were to lose any of them (there are 3) I would be devastated.

    Fortunately my husband and I are pretty good at telling each other how much we appreciate each other and what we have together. Great reminder, and great story.

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  11. I'm so glad you found your ring. I adore my wedding bands and engagement ring - I wear them every.single.day. If I were to lose any of them (there are 3) I would be devastated.

    Fortunately my husband and I are pretty good at telling each other how much we appreciate each other and what we have together. Great reminder, and great story.

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  12. LOVELY. I'm so glad you found it. I've experienced that same panicky feeling!

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  13. What a beautiful story and a happy ending. I, too, have a similar diamond story but mine did not have such a happy ending. it is very true that the physical and material thing does not really represent the love but then again---it does in a way because it is what we see outwardly to remind us of that commitment. My hubby and I have 31 married years under our belts and even tho the belts are a little bit bigger than they were 31 years ago we would do it all over in a heartbeat. Thanks for a lovely post.

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  14. Thank you Beth Ann, it's always good to hear that people feel that way after more than three decades together. It seems there are tough stretches for everyone at different times, but you are really on the other side of them when you feel you'd do it all again.

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  15. How lucky for you. In all respects!

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  16. You betcha, Judy. I've taken names. Letters to management on the way. And, Art...thank you my friend.

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