The Ring

Back in early April, I was visiting my parent in Baton Rouge (this was several weeks before my step-father passed away--more on that another time) when my aunt Eileen and her younger daughter came over to meet Maggie and play with Jack (my 2-year-old). Kimberly, my cousin, wasn't much of a baby person, but she had a great time with Jack, who is one bundle of energy. He bounced between toys and people like he was on a pogo stick. Eileen sat on a chair in the den, holding baby Maggie on her lap. I saw that she was wearing the diamond ring she had inherited from my grandmother.

The story behind the ring bears witness to the insanely organized system my grandparents worked out of how each child would inherit their assets. Grandma knew that five girls dividing up their mother's jewelry box wouldn't be a pretty sight. Who gets what? There's only one huge diamond wedding ring. There are only so many pearls or earrings, etc. In the spirit of Vegas, my grandparents set up the Lottery System. Each girl, in order of birth, drew a package of jewelry, sort of a "name in a hat" scenario where they didn't know what each package held until it was all over. Each package was worth the same monetary amount, the appraised value of the diamond wedding ring, but one might include cash plus some pearls, another would have diamonds, bracelets, and cash, etc. So Eileen, who as you can see drew the package that held the ring, received ONLY the ring--no cash or other jewelry included.

Does she mind? Not a bit. She wears that ring proudly, despite the early teasing she endured from her sisters. The ring isn't so much ostentatious as it is impressive--my grandfather had good taste, and my grandmother reaped the benefits. Now Eileen's two daughters are trying to figure out who's going to get it from her!

So Eileen's wearing the ring as Jack plays around her feet. Being a new two-year-old, he's beginning to learn many words. They aren't always in English, of course, but most of them are legible. As he moved from toy to toy, he would point to one and tell Kimberly what it was. "Ball" or "rrrrr" (his word for car), or "wah" (water). When the dachsund jumped into my lap, he pointed and said, "dog-dog." Sometimes we didn't know what he was trying to tell us. But as he passed by Great-aunt Eileen, he stopped, pointed at her ring, and loudly and clearly exclaimed, "ROCK!"

Silence reigned for two heart-beats, then hilarity. Eileen almost fell out of her chair she was laughing so hard. Jack's pronouncement couldn't have been more true. Leave it to a toddler to call a rock a rock. I know it's only been a couple of months, but we've had lots of family time since then, and I can tell you that Rock is now everyone's affectionate term for the ring.