Soooo, she upgraded. Again. My beautiful friend, Lynn, loves the jewelry — and she has gathered some mighty fine baubles over the years! I’m told that her childhood friend, Mary, and she simply cannot resist their favorite jeweler in Saint Maarten, and they tend to spur each other on during their annual visits. They must go every year to take advantage of their timeshare. They simply must. Of course, the jeweler, Jeffrey. is delighted to see them walk through the door. He welcomes the ladies with a tall flute of champagne and pours his finest scotch for their loyal husbands, Lucas and Buddy, to soften the shock of the upcoming purchases.
Ah yes, I remember that technique well from the old flying days when we flight attendants had seven-day layovers in Hong Kong and not much to do but shop. We didn’t have a lot of money, so we saved our per diem until we had enough to cover the checks we wrote for the jewelry we bought while sipping gin and tonics. At the time, Hong Kong was a British territory, which explains the gin and tonic part. There is no other explanation for buying the jewelry. Most of us were on weight-check all the time, so we didn’t eat much anyway.
Lynn had told me about the ring on our recent Puerto Rico visit. She had retired after thirty-eight years working for a major healthcare corporation, where she held a stressful position and had to deal with many intense situations. After all her hard work she well deserves this ring, and then some.
The ring she had been wearing for the last few years was a knock-out in and of itself. Not only was the diamond large, but it had all the Cs — color, cut, clarity and naturally carats (plural). How much larger could she go? Wellllll, quite a bit apparently.
When she got word that the new ring was being delivered via Fed-Ex her eyes lit up, she took a deep breath and turned to me as we sat sipping coffee in the Green Valley Lake cabin where she had just completed her weekend duties for Ski Patrol. She pushed her chair back and yelled, “Get dressed! We’re going on a mission!”
“A mission? Yay! What kind of mission? Should I dress in all black?”
“Dress in anything you like. The ring will be at a Fed-Ex pickup spot in an hour. It takes a half-hour to get down the mountain, so we’re out the door in thirty minutes. Wait ’til you see this ring. It’ll knock your eye out.”
We snaked down the skinny winding road at a snail’s pace in a long line of traffic, which was a good thing lest we go sailing off the road into the canyon in our haste to get to the package. We parked the truck and, not wanting to look too eager, sauntered across the parking lot and headed for the pickup office.
Lynn composed herself, and in her professional well-modulated voice said to the clerk behind the desk, “Hello, I’m here to pick up a package with this tracking number,” and she placed the paper on the counter with her photo ID.
I thought we would be picking up a small box. I mean, really, I had pictured a black velvet spring-loaded, satin-lined box. Of course, it wouldn’t be like that. But neither would it be a large cardboard pre-printed box that could fit a chainsaw. Lynn signed for the package and we quietly turned, exited, and made a beeline for the truck. We didn’t run, we didn’t talk, we looked straight ahead, nonchalantly sat in the truck, locked the doors while Lynn whipped out her Swiss Army knife, and started hacking away at the box.
Inside was a sealed plastic mailing envelope that contained a small square cardboard box. She slit the tape, tugged the flaps open, and there was the final box — yes, it was black velvet. She held the box in both hands, took a deep breath, and with her thumb pushed up on the top. She took a good long look then turned the box in my direction.
“Oh. My. God!” I squealed. We chair-danced, we hooted and howled, and dubbed it the- ring-to-end-all-rings. After we settled down, Lynn dialed Lucas and told him so.
“Oh, good. So that means no more rings, right? This is the final upgrade, right, Lynn? Lynn?”
There is no room left on her finger for a bigger ring. The blue diamonds sparkling in the band set off her eyes, so with that going for her, how could she even think of upgrading? And why would she? She has the-ring-to-end-all-rings!
And now when we greet each other it’s not. How are you doing?” It’s, “How goes it with da ring?!”