Chapter Three / The Ring
Looking down through the glass cabinet at the collection of K Mart costume jewelry rings created an unexpected feeling of doubt. Maybe Faith would turn down the request for a lifetime commitment. We had never talked about it. I had never even kissed her. Had we even held hands on our many Sioux Falls walks to the movies or mall? I don't think so. And now, "Here's a ring and let's get married?" I knew it was right. Somehow, I knew.
I spotted a ring which value, if real, should have reached over several thousand dollars. Many large diamonds were set in white gold. "This should work," I thought.
It was six dollars and ninety-eight cents. Surprisingly the black felt box, with the pillow inside for the ring to "sleep" on, was tossed in as part of the deal. Awesome.
When returning home, I was glad to notice Faith was outside with a book. This gave me time to quietly get in the house and have my mom take a first look at the purchase.
"That really is pretty. You sure you think this is the right thing to do?" she wondered returning the black box to my hand.
"Yup," I tried to say with confidence.
"Okay. Dad and I decided to take you to out to eat tonight. When we both leave to use the restroom, you can give her the ring."
How was it possible I thought this was an acceptable plan? The idea was I would quickly ask the question and present the ring after my parents both suspiciously leave for the bathroom? I didn't have another idea, so, "Sure. That's sounds great," was my only response.
The meal was very good. I don't remember what it was, but this was one of the finer restaurants in Hastings. Like a theater script, my mom excused herself to the restroom, and my dad followed. I didn't know how long they'd be gone. Not to take any chances on their returning too soon, I had the black box out and said, "We should get married."
I realized immediately that was not a question.
"Would you like to get married?" I asked still holding the box.
Faith questioned, "What's in the box? Is that a ring? Is that why both your parents left?" After a slight pause she said, "Yes. When?"
She didn't even see the ring yet. I never opened the box. "When do you think would be a good time?"
Faith answered, "I'd like to be done with school first. Then I'll have my teaching job. I think that would be a good time." Faith had the larger percentage of common sense between the two of us. It gave her two years to back out.
"Okay," I said pushing the black box toward her. "Here's your ring."
Faith opened the box and brought her eyes closer to the ring for a more thorough examination. "Is this real?"
One of our greatest skills as a couple, both then and now, was immediate transparency.
"No, I got it from K Mart. It only cost seven bucks," I said rather proudly. Faith was very frugal and I knew she would think I made the best decision.
"It looks really nice," she said. "But I don't know how long it will last. I've had some rings like this before and the little gemstones start falling out pretty quick."
My parents returned. "Oh, that's such a nice ring," my mom said.
"So, what did she say?" my dad asked rather loudly.
"She said, 'yes' but we'll wait until she's finishes school," I said.
"Good idea," my dad said holding up his empty cup for the waitress to discover. He wanted more coffee.
The following day Faith and I were going to a previously scheduled event where her relatives would be present. Faith was excited to share the news and extend her hand out for the "oohs" and "ahs" over the ring.
"Is that real?" one aunt questioned. Faith just smiled.
"How long have you two known each other?" another wondered. Faith informed that she and I had been friends for the first full year at college.
Many questions continued in Faith's direction while I sat uncomfortably talking to someone about something.
On the way back to my house, Faith said, "I think I'll need to get a real ring. Everyone could tell this was fake. And, it's turning my finger green. One of these little gemstones already fell out, too. I do like it. And I'll keep it. But I should get a real one."
Very honestly I let her know I didn't have money to buy something real.
"That's fine. I'll buy it. Let's get something for about one hundred dollars. And then you can pay me back a little at a time with your money from the dish room when we get back to school."
Within a few days, Faith had her real ring displaying a very small diamond. The stone was so small it looked like a crumb of bread that needed to be brushed away. But she liked it. Materialism was not an issue for her. This was a tremendous attribute in our lives together with an always limited future income.
Indeed, this was love. Two friends on the journey of helping one another in life's future adventures. We were both totally confident in our decision that God wanted the two of us together. Little did we know then, what extraordinary things He would be able to accomplish with two very ordinary people.