*In my effort to preserve family history, I recall these stories about my parents. Stories that shaped me and my sister, stories that should, and I hope, will be passed down.
My father suffered greatly over the years from a fungus that ate away at his fingernails & nail bed, yet another result of the toxic chemicals he used daily from his trade of house painting. These same chemicals would eventually destroy his lungs.
When he was very young, 19, and prior to finding a medication, his finger nails had to be scraped off, then, finally the doctors found a topical. The medication had to be painted on like nail polish. It was black, so it embarrassed him intensely, therefore when he would play his saxophone he would try to hide his hands by leaning deep or pitching high with his horn. Because of this condition he discovered he couldn’t wear rings daily. He wore his wedding ring, and his gold and alexandrite blue stone ring only when he played gigs.
Medications improved over the years, finally in a pill form, Fulvicin, however very harsh on the liver. But still rings aggravated his skin, eventually his wedding ring remained in his drawer. I took it out of the drawer decades later and asked my father if I could take it with the intention of cutting it in half to make a pendent for Julie & me to wear as a necklace. He said absolutely.
Once we got home Gary said you can’t cut his ring in half. And, with rediscovering the inscription from my mother on the inside, of course, my husband was correct. So instead, I had our jeweler make a tie bar out of Dad’s ring, and we added a diamond, his birthstone.
When Dad passed away I took the tie bar back telling my sister I had it. I held onto it, but when I saw the photo Julie sent me of our nephew and his girlfriend together, I knew Bobby had found his life partner. When it was clear he would be marrying the Love of his life, I gave the tie clip to my sister to give to her son to wear on his wedding day. My hope was to have been invited to share that moment of passing along Dad’s heirloom, but I trusted this was a decision for the mother of my nephew, and how she wanted to create this memory for her son and her both was for her alone to decide.
Mom filmed Dad receiving and opening his Father’s Day gift. He had no idea what to expect. As it turns out, exactly 5 years prior, to the date, my father passed away.
The faux alexandrite ring, Dad’s stage ring; At some point, before we ever knew Dad was ill, my sister and I were going through some of Dad’s things on his dresser. I asked my sister, when Dad goes, if she minded that I take the blue stone ring. It evoked the memories of when he played & I remembered it’s sparkle from the stage. She obliged that I would inherit it. When Dad passed away in our arms; myself, my mother, and my husband Gary on Father’s Day eve, I just couldn’t tell my sister on the phone knowing she would be too upset driving the 3+ hours alone through the desert. When she arrived that Father’s Day morning, I put on the ring and went outside to greet her, as I still could not say the words. She knew immediately, but all she could say was “why are you wearing the ring – why are you wearing the ring”, we collapsed into each other’s comforting arms.