How the Grandfather Lost His Marriage Ring and the Invisible Family

Slice of retired life

For the second time, in soon to be forty three years of marriage, I lost my wedding ring.  But more about that later.

One of the advantages of being retired is not being tied to a constraint of pre-arranged vacation dates at work; you can take advantage of last minute deals.  During this winter of what seems perpetual snow since January, we found a great deal for a five night cruise out of Fort Lauderdale.

Marriages are perpetual exercises in compromising and we found out years ago a cruise meets our joint leisure-relaxation criteria, which are, not necessary in this order: decent food without having to prepare the food, shows, going to different places, music, being naturally warm in the winter, not having to make your bed or clean the bathroom, being 'surprised' at a sudden weight gain, and meeting new people.    

Meeting new people always results in interesting dinners on cruises.  We once met a Texas elementary school principal during a mid March cruise, not knowing Texas has one winter and spring school vacation week, namely in mid March.  Learned a lot about Texas and cheerleading.  Another time we met twin nurses who grew up in the depression and worked fields as migrant workers as kids, making us thinking twice about when our kids complain at the level of an iPod is not charged.  Most tragically we once had to cruise near Cuba to avoid a hurricane and saw the sadness on the face of Cuban American who were so close to, but so far from their former homeland.  This last cruise we met the most interesting family.

We were seated for dinner at a table for ten.  The first night, only we showed up.  We wrote this off as a first night, people are tired, disoriented, etc.  We also began to feel a little conspicuous, as if we were emitting some bizarre aura to the tables around us.   

The second night was a formal dinner night, which we attended.  Since retired, it is rare occasions I wear a dark suit, namely wedding and funerals.  I foolishly did not try on the suit before the dinner, forgetting I lost over thirty pounds since the last time I wore the suit.  Result: circus clown with dark suit goes to dinner.  Again, the others did not show up.  We rationalized this as many people skip the formal dinner.  The result was we had the advantage of being waited on to excess since the waiter and assistant waiter had little to do.  Consequently, we learned about vegetable gardens in the Ukraine and Filipino family structure to the extent we should edit a Wikipedia article.

By the third night we began to refer to the invisible family and had mock conversations.  Nice folks, recently widowed grandfather, his daughter and son-in-law, and five kids, 12 to 22 months.  The latter made us momentarily irrationally think of taking our grandkids on a cruise in the future. 

Back to the ring.  The first time I lost a marriage ring was about 20 years ago, taking out the garbage and recycling and positioning the cans within February snow banks.  This time, I was doing something almost stupid for my age.  As you get older, I feel not to get stale you need to drive yourself to do something within a reasonable challenge or risk.  For example, driving from Saint Louis to Chelmsford straight or taking pilates classes with people one-third to one-half your age.  (One source of inspiration for this is former President Bush père who sky dived on his eightieth birthday.) 

The cruise ship has a WaveFlow, stimulating ocean wave conditions for surfing and boogie boarding.  After much hesitation, and finally realizing if I tried it and looked like a fool I would never run into the people watching me again, I had my turn.  It was great and I did not wipe out, but noticed I lost my marriage ring in the intense current.  The giant machine was stopped and the ring no where to be found.  The best guess is the ring may be in the machine's filter.  The good news is I lost the ring in front of my wife.  Otherwise, I don't even want to contemplate the consequences.  We are hoping the ring pops up when the WaveFlow filter is inspected before we buy a new one. 

Seems to be a new ring every twenty years or so.  I wonder what gold will be an ounce around 2035. 

Addendum:  My last blog was on the HBO show Girls and the web site www.urbanbaby.com  The train does not stop there, but continues with the self-indulgent baby boomer generation, to which I am a member via accident of birth.  The New York Times, an obvious source, now has a Boomer section.  Recent articles found at  http://www.nytimes.com/pages/booming/index.html include Why do my Knees Hurt?, Old Dog Needs $6,000 Surgery and Married 38 Years and He says She Never is Wrong.  

I have one obvious comment, from the ‘60s: 'and the beat goes on'.


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