Thank goodness for Friday.
I looked up at my computer screen, sighed a weary sigh, and clicked “New Message.”
From: Sarah Weisman
To: Hannah Weisman
Date: Friday, February 12, 2008
Subject: A ring? Wishful thinking…
..... but just in case a certain blue-eyed Irish hunk asks for your opinion:
I want a ruby engagement ring set in anything but yellow gold (platinum would be nice, but I would settle for white gold). Nothing too ornate. 5 1/2, I think.
A flurry of emails followed. “Drop hints that he should go to Grannis---they can custom design anything and they work with some amazing jewelers.” “I think a covert conspiracy to give Dan a little kick in the pants is a fab idea!” “I'll be sure to keep my ears and eyes open. I hope he gets it together and asks the question soon! Just remember, he's a guy and guys are dumb.”
I stared in awe at the computer screen as email after email described more and more elaborate plans for choosing a ring and then setting Dan on the road to find it. What had I started?
Before I knew what had happened, I was being whisked out of a cold, Vermont winter night into the warm opulence of Burlington’s most beloved jewelry shop. My eyeglasses fogged up. As I unzipped my jacket and wiped my glasses on my shirt, I closed my eyes and inhaled. Mmmm, smells …. pretty.
A young woman with a kind face and delicate hands offered to take my coat and asked me how she could help. Hannah and Tausha tripped over one another to describe the situation: Sarah loves a man and it’s time for that man to propose.
There they were: ruby rings set in white gold. And they were all… well, wrong! Too harsh, too cold. Too old lady. The young clerk could tell from the look on my face that I was disappointed and gently steered me toward a collection by an eclectic San Diego-based artist who uses pieces from nature as inspiration. As Hannah and Tausha gushed over the ethereal pieces cast from grape vines and tiny flora, I glimpsed a glimmer of deep orange in the corner of the jewelry case.
“Oh my goodness,” I enthused, “What is THAT?”
“That’s an orange sapphire set in rose gold. Sapphires come in many colors and are actually a member of the same family of minerals as rubies. Would you like to try it on?”
“Rose gold is a gold and copper alloy, or mixture. It’s gorgeous with the orange sapphire, don’t you think?”
As I twisted my hand around in the shimmering light of the jewelry case, I knew I had found my ring. I told the sweet clerk that this was the one, and with that, she pulled a large diary from behind the counter. It read “Wish Book” in gold, embossed letters on the front. She carefully measured my finger and in small, neat writing, recorded my name, my ring size and all the details about that darling ring.
And then I had a terrible realization. I looked up at Hannah and Tausha with panic in my eyes.
“I can’t do this! I can’t tell Dan I picked out an engagement ring! We’ve talked about getting married, but he hasn’t given me any reason to believe he’s going to propose anytime soon. This isn’t fair to him. How do people do this?” I was hyperventilating.
Hannah looked at the young woman who was still writing my wishes in her Wish Book diary and said quietly, “Do you have a little card or something that we can give to the man?”
The young woman produced a small card that had the words “I’ve registered my wishes at the Grannis Gallery” written on it in fancy calligraphy. She winked at me. “You just put it on his pillow with this.” She handed me the card and a piece of Lake Champlain chocolate wrapped in gold foil.
“Okay,” I said tentatively.
As we walked back to our cars that night, Hannah put her arm around my shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll figure something out.” I nodded.
“Okay,” I said again.
That night, as I was getting ready for bed, I considered what it would be to put that prim little card on Dan’s pillow. It just seemed silly and selfish. I couldn’t do it.
The weeks slipped by and I went about my business of being a Mom, working too much, and continuing to get to know Dan, Hallie and Adam. Any thoughts of engagement and that beautiful orange ring faded from my mind.
March brought with it the blustery beginnings of springtime in Vermont and a business trip to Washington DC, where the cherry trees were in bloom. I was away for 5 days and while I was out of town, the following transpired:
Brrring. Brrring. Hannah called Dan on a Wednesday night.
“Hi Dan, I have a class in Burlington tonight. Would you mind if I leave my dog in your mudroom with Lily for a couple of hours? I’ll pick him up on my way home, around 7:30 or so.”
“No problem. Rich is coming over, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Just let yourself in.”
Hannah returned from her class to fetch Bodi and let herself into the kitchen.
“Dan,” she called, “it’s Hannah!”
“We’re in the basement, come on down!”
Hannah walked down the basement steps to find Dan and Rich drinking beers and rearranging the target at which they’d been shooting Dan’s pellet gun.
“You wanna beer?” Dan asked Hannah. “How about some shooting?”
And with that, my buttinsky little sister helped herself to a beer, took a few shots at the target with the pellet gun, and told Dan I had picked out an engagement ring.
We’re getting married in 11 days.