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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: Rubies Are ...
By Karie McCaffity


The birthday box came right on schedule. I removed the brightly colored gift box from the shipping box, and sat it on the coffee table for Corie to open. Inside were several packages, all wrapped and ribboned. From the largest, there emerged a troll doll with flaming red hair in a gingham dress. She sat on the couch as the other gifts were discovered. There was pretend lipstick. Corie applied some to her own lips and to her new friend’s smile also. As the last gift was unwrapped, I gathered up the wrappings and began to put them in the larger box. Cori placed a ruby ring on her chubby finger. Gifts from her Great Aunt Jeri were always unpredictable and usually a week late.

I waited until Corie was asleep and called Aunt Jeri. I left a message thanking her for the gifts and promising to send pictures. I wondered what she could be up to. Her 68th birthday had just passed; both she and Corie had July birthdays.

Days later, Aunt Jeri returned my call. I have always been a little in awe of Aunt Jeri; everyone sort of expected her eccentricities. She asked me what I thought of the ring she had sent. I didn’t remember seeing it since the tea party. As I stopped daydreaming and rejoined the conversation, I heard Aunt Jeri say that it should be held on to until Corie was older, but she wanted to be sure she had given it to her. My blood ran cold. Who sent a four year old a real ruby ring? I didn’t want to admit that I would have to go dig it out of the toy box, so I quickly got off the phone.

I searched every inch of Corie’s room, the living room, laundry room, and Corie’s room again. In a matter of days, the ring had disappeared. I explained to Charlie when he got home from work. He asked if she had worn it to church. I couldn’t remember. She might have worn it anywhere. She was four. She had no idea of the value. I never really looked at it.

I had to call Aunt Jeri and tell her that I hadn’t realized that the ring was real and now couldn’t find it. In typical fashion, she surprised me by agreeing that a ring of that value was not often given to a child. She held out hope that the ring would be found up until the day she passed on six years later.

Another birthday had come without the grace of the special birthday boxes. Half dozen young ladies were sleeping over. It was cause to celebrate; the first one in their circle of friends was a teenager. As we watched the girls settling in for the night, I told my friend Maureen of the ruby ring Corie had received for her fourth birthday.

Maureen looked down her wedding ring set. She told me the story of her own ruby ring. She had been given a promise ring on her eighteenth birthday. A year later and the ruby promise ring was replaced with a pearl and silver wedding band set. As the years went by, the pearl in the ring became loose and was lost. With the addition of little ones, another pearl would be difficult to afford. When they were finally able to afford it, it was agreed that the band could be replaced and she could continue to wear the ruby ring. After so many years, it had become the symbol of their marriage. About a year ago, she took the rings in to a jeweler and asked about resizing them. The jeweler was looking uncomfortable. He explained how gemstones and even glass are cold to the touch, and how her “stone” was warm to the touch. Not having a clue, she had asked for clarification.

“That was the day I found out that my Ruby was plastic.”

I sat there for a bit pondering the difference in the two ruby rings. The ring that held value was not seen as valuable to those of us who had been given charge over it. It was given to a child to play with without a second look. The second ring is of no value to those who judge value in dollars, yet its value goes far beyond rubies. It is the symbol of almost 50 years of marriage.

Dedicated to Norma, whose worth is far beyond rubies.

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This article has been read 404 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/10/09
Oh, very good, and I thank you for leaving your reader to ponder the spiritual applications. Very, very well done.
Shilo Goodson10/11/09
I liked the comparision of the two rings. I also enjoyed reading about the aunt. She felt so real to me.
PamFord Davis 10/12/09
Wow! Great story! I was glad the Aunt did not get angry when the ruby ring got lost. The adult rings drama was a real shocker!
Colin Swann10/13/09
I was hoping it would turn out as a story of a lost and found. Like finding the pearl of great price or the ten lost coins. Good story. Thanks - Colin
Ruth Brown10/13/09
Well done. Good tie in with the plastic stone.Blessings, ruth