Dad didn’t make it home from the war for Christmas of 1945. When he got home in January of ‘46 Mom gave him a special gift. It was a cameo ring. She doesn’t remember the cost; only that it was expensive.
Dad wore the ring proudly. At times he showed it off or people commented about it. He never said it was a gift from Mom. In fact I never knew its origin till recently.
I never heard my Dad express any sort of appreciation for where or who it came from. It seemed, as best I can recall, he treated it as a trophy; something he earned for being a good man.
I’ve never cared for men’s jewelry, but I really liked my Dad’s ring. It was manly. My Dad had huge hands. The fingers were bent and crooked from years of catching too many foul tips as a baseball catcher. So it looked good on him. It was his prize. It directed attention to his fingers and the stories he could tell about them.
About twenty years after he received the ring it was suddenly gone. Nobody knew its whereabouts or how it got lost. No one could pinpoint the exact time or place.
Mom theorized Dad gave it to a girlfriend. That, to me, sounded farfetched. Although my Dad was known to flirt and philanderer, I don’t think Dad would part with a possession such as his ring; money ‘yes,’ the ring ‘no.’
The ring was a memento from my Mom to her husband. A memento of her love and how much she missed him during the war.
Dad did not appreciate it in the same spirit in which it was given. For that reason I can’t recall another gift Mom ever purchased for Dad that had meaning attached to it.
That ring was a gesture of Mom’s love for Dad, but it was likewise a symbolic reminder of how Dad regarded the marriage. He was proud to show it off and brag about it, but did very little to maintain or keep it.
A person does not appreciate what they don’t earn.
I’m sort of hoping the ring shows up in some old box or drawer. Mom always said that if it turned up it would me mine.
You see, I can’t put my finger on anything left to me from my Dad. All I have are a lot of memories and a few photos.
I think that ring would have meant more to me than him.
There was something very telling in that ring about their marriage. The cameo was of two Greeks or Romans. The one to the front was a soldier and the one to the back was a woman. Dad was always to the forefront of the marriage while Mom was in the background.
I don’t think Dad ever saw the woman in the background. Maybe that is what Mom wanted him to see. And maybe the day he noticed it; that’s when it came up missing.
Rings aren’t just jewelery, they tell story.