My husband Dale had spent long hours at his law practice in the summer of 1962, even working on weekends on this particular case. There had been no time to go out to dinner or a movie. Money was tight. Gifts for each other simply were not part of the budget – they were a luxury.
While Dale worked hard at the office, I tended three young children, a house and garden and a Brittany pointer puppy. My daily uniform consisted of T-shirts and stretch pants, making my carefully nurtured image of glamour a thing of the past. Life seemed to center around baby formula, diapers and huge boxes of tissues. How I longed for a sign that I was still a desirable young woman. I hoped for an omen, any hint that my husband still found me desirable, a tiny assurance that he knew I needed a bit of pampering. I got much more than I had daydreamed!
He came into the kitchen that Friday evening, his usual pre-occupied self, and tossed a crumpled, white tissue on the table and said, “Here! For services rendered!” His comment puzzled me. What an odd thing to say. What could he mean by that? Besides, I was shocked he would bring me nothing but a wadded-up tissue. If this was meant as a joke, I did not “get” it!
I was about to throw the wadded tissue in the trash when Dale cautioned from the sink, “Don’t’ do that! You better look inside.” Disbelieving, I plopped into the nearest chair, ignored the whining children and unfolded the tissue. I stared! Speechless, I swallowed hard. A gorgeous ring fell out! a square emerald, framed in diamonds, all set in platinum. I tried to speak but could not. I looked uncomprehendingly at the love of my life, the father of my children. Then I cried and tried on the ring. It fit perfectly! I felt glamorous! Finally I was able to babble, “How? Why? Where did the money for this dazzling jewel come from?”
My husband smiled warmly as he sipped a chilled soda and said, “You deserve it!” I still could not understand why he would bring me such an elaborate gift, something the budget would not tolerate. Then he explained, “We won our court case today, but the client had no money to pay me. So, she handed me this ring and said, “For services rendered.” That finally explained his earlier comment.
A jeweler assured us the stones are genuine and, checking a specialty catalogue, he told us that the ring was one of only four, made in Paris, France, at the turn of the century. This much-treasured ring has made me feel elegant during the past 42 years, and somewhat nostalgic of late. My husband, now retired from the practice of law, no longer has to spend long weekends doing legal work. Our gifts to each other these days are tokens of a different sort, none of them wrapped in fancy paper or wadded-up tissues, but nonetheless precious, because they are gifts of the heart. @(http://www.dajiyuan.com)