Monday, October 18, 2010

The Ring

Two years ago my phone rang.
My dad's phone number showed up on the caller I.D. 
With a slight amount of fear, I stared at the phone while it rang for a fourth time. 
"Don't answer it" was my first thought. "He's calling to tell you Grandma is gone" 

Grandma was 97 years old and each year we still had her was a blessing. 

"Hello?" I asked quietly and with caution.
"Hi Honey, this is Dad"
"Why are you calling me?"  I asked in an almost accusing voice. 
My dad hardly ever calls. We talk on birthdays or Christmas. I usually call him, so when I saw that caller I.D. I thought the worst.

My dad wasn't calling with the sad news I know is coming one day, he was calling to ask if I had received the package he mailed me a week prior. 
I had, in fact, received it that day. I just hadn't had a chance to call and thank him.

Several years ago, (25 to be exact), I asked my dad if I could have his high school class ring if he ever decided to get rid of it.
He shrugged it off and said, "Oh, that thing isn't worth anything. I'll probably just take it and get what little bit of money the gold is worth".
I told him I really hoped he would consider giving it to me for the sentimental value. 

A few years later, I asked him, again, about the ring. He said he wasn't even sure where "the damn thing" was. I told him again, I'd like to have it if he finds it one day. He didn't seem to worry that it might mean something to me.

Over the next few years, I asked, (well, badgered him, I suppose), a few more times about that ring and finally figured I should shut-up about it.
Neither of us mentioned it again. 
No Biggie.

My dad doesn't show much in the way of emotion. He doesn't reminisce much. He doesn't seem to be sentimental and he doesn't let too many things bother him. 
I call it "The Butterfield Way". 
Really... it's something about that family. My sister is the same way. So is Grandma (even though she's a Stott and Butterfield is her married name).

On the day of that phone call, 2 years ago, I opened the mailbox and inside, on top of the junk mail, was a small manila envelope. 
The envelope was from my dad. 
Now, mind you, he doesn't send much in the way of correspondence, so this was a nice surprise.

I had no idea what might be in it, but I didn't wait to get back to the house before I tore open that envelope. 
Inside was a ring box and inside that ring box was Daddy's class ring. 
Of course, now, after all the years of bugging him about it, I felt a little silly as I took the ring out of that little box and slipped it on my middle finger. 

Tears welled in my eyes as I looked at the ring and remembered how, as a child, it looked so big on my dad's finger. Now, as an adult, it looked small and fit my finger perfectly. 
The edges of the ring had smoothed over the years.
The gold felt soft and, in a strange way, warm. 

After scolding him for calling me (because he hardly ever did) and scaring the crap out of me: "You know, Daddy, one of these days, I am going to get that call", 
I thanked him. 
I thanked him for remembering I wanted the ring. 
I thanked him for setting it aside.
I thanked him for sending it to me.

Of course, in his "Butterfield Way" he just said, "Oh, I decided it was time to clean out some things and get rid of them and when I came across the ring, I remembered you wanted it."
He went on to tell me after the first time I asked about the ring, he put it away for me, and forgot about it. 

Since that day, I look at my dad a little differently.
I think he's more sentimental than I thought before. 
I also think his heart is softer than he wants to show. 
I know he does things his way and when he wants to.

I'm the same way. 

(and, Grandma will be 99 next month)