Grandmommy took a header over a couple of suitcases she'd packed and left next to her couch before departing on a multi-mile walk yesterday afternoon. She caught herself and ended up with a bad scrape on one arm and a broken ring finger bone on her left--it was a clean break in the palm of her hand, so her left arm's swaddled up like the Baby Jesus and we're praying it knits quickly. My aunt and uncle were actually just a few minutes away from the house when she tripped--they were on their way to pick her up so she could spend a few days with them in Macon, GA, before and after her eye injection Tuesday--so they were able to whisk her off to the emergency room promptly. My brother and my mom and I were already scheduled to go down to visit tomorrow, but this adds an extra element of urgency to the trip.
I think it was the afternoon of my grandfather's funeral, or perhaps it was the evening of the viewing, Grandmommy gave me their wedding rings--"They are mine to give to who I want to, and I don't want arguments over them later" she said. Granddaddy's (which I don't think I'd ever seen him wear) was bent into an odd trapezoidal shape (probably the reason he never wore it) from the battering his hands were always taking. Grandmommy's wedding and engagement bands were soldered together--actually, I remember twenty-five or so years ago when the back of the bands had been worn through from age and friction, and she had the bands replaced and then attached to one another to keep further deterioration at bay. As a result of this earlier band replacement and soldering, the diamond top of the wedding band was loosened, and fell off on a trip she and Granddaddy were taking, and was lost. She got a replacement (not as pretty as the original--the diamonds weren't set the same) and then had the whole fused together again. So, really, the only part of the set that is original is the top part of the engagement ring. A few months after she gave the set to me (Granddaddy's battered ring went into my jewelry box, while hers immediately took up permanent residence on my right middle finger), I noticed that one of the tiny side diamonds was missing, and just this week (Granddaddy would have been 95 last Monday) I noticed that there's a crack in the gold of the engagement ring, running from the inside of the band to the bottom of the largest central diamond. In other words, the ring has legitimately been worn out. It survived 63 years of marriage, but it has come to the end of its useful life.
Of course, I have no intention of melting it down to sell the gold! Instead, I would like to have the components remade into a ring that I can wear for my remaining years of life, and then pass down to my niece or some other of Grandmommy's and Granddaddy's deserving descendants. I want to have the gold from both his and her wedding rings combined, and a short inscription carved on the inside of the new band to commemorate their faithfulness and mutual affection. The trick will be coming up with a design that incorporates the stones and the metal without looking like a men's club ring from the 1980s. And it's got to be comfortable, as I don't intend to take it off much, if at all. I like the early 20th century look, with the combination of white and yellow gold, and the stones set into the band. We'll see. I've got to start sketching.