Empty as a pocket

Last night my four year old surprised me by bursting into a creative version of Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”. Knowing he hadn’t heard this marvelous song at home, he must have learned it in preschool. It was a beautiful moment when we both realized that each of us knew this song, and sang it for the first time together.

He specifically sang this part:

He’s a poor boy
Empty as a pocket
Empty as a pocket with nothing to lose
Sing ta na na
Ta na na na
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Ta na na
Ta na na na
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes.

What does the song mean, really? Is it about a rich girl, so rich she wears diamonds on the bottoms of her shoes? Does it talk about the social stratification that exists? Does it allude to dating above one’s so-called station?

I don’t really know what it means, but it’s a catchy tune. And speaking of diamonds. On a rainy afternoon this past February, I glanced at my left hand and realized my ring was gone. My wedding band was on my finger, but my engagement ring was missing. Very panicky, I tore the house apart and realized, feeling sick, that I’d taken my oldest boy swimming earlier that day. The ring was surely at the bottom of the pool. I sped to the pool where teenage lifeguards confirmed they knew nor heard nothing about a lost ring. Goggled and swimsuit on, I did my best to scope out the drains and corners and lane lines underwater. Nothing. I put up a sign, contacted a few leads, put up a post on Craigslist, filed a police report. Lost ring. Sentimental (and financial) value. Please call.


Keeping it in perspective wasn’t easy. It’s a thing, just a thing, and having known true loss, I totally get the fact that it is just a thing. But it didn’t feel like just a thing. Designed by my husband in collaboration with a small independent jeweler in Carmel, California, and presented to me by my husband during a water break at the top of a big hill (or small mountain, depending on your perspective), to which we hiked one day in our low-budget, grad school-esque, potlucking and pre-parenting life, this ring was a symbol of our love and our commitment. It represented so much about who we were when we were not who we are today –  unmarried, childless, and free to make a choice to take our relationship to the next level.

I find it truly unjust that same-sex marriage is only recognized by some individual states, and not by the federal government.  Even worse, some states specifically prohibit same-sex marriage via statute and/or the state constitution. That doesn’t prevent same-sex couples from presenting or wearing rings to symbolize their commitment, of course, and it shouldn’t. But in losing my ring, I questioned a lot about the meaning behind the platinum band with the sparkle. I was also very angry at the mistake I’d worn by wearing the damn thing to the swimming pool in the first place.

About five months went by and I no longer wore any ring on either hand. I took off my wedding band, too, because I was afraid I’d lose it, too.

Then one morning I opened the drawer to grab a pair of jeans. This is a drawer I open a minimum of one time per day, and had just cleaned out the previous week. My youngest son squealed and pointed. In the slim ridge between pants and wood sat a small silvery sparkly band – my engagement ring.

Not at the bottom of the pool. Not stolen by a teenage hoodlum. Not sitting in a pawn shop.

I still don’t know how it got there, or how I hadn’t noticed it slipping off my finger into the dresser drawer. I do recall how mad my little one got when I wouldn’t let him keep what he had rightfully found.

And I do know it’s just a thing, and these things don’t make or break marriages, or committed relationships, legal or not. But I’m glad it’s back, and I’m happy to be married, and I want everybody to be married who wants to be married (that way if they lose their engagement ring, they, too, can have a big fight with their partner!)

Have a great day, readers. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little story and this image of Big Sur, California (where we agreed to marry). And please don’t wear your jewelry to the swimming pool.


2 thoughts on “Empty as a pocket

  1. Alice says:

    Lovely post even though you freaked me out. I wear my rings in the pool every day. But not in the bay 😉

  2. Vicki Collins says:

    Losing my rings has been a fear of mine! I always wear them in the pool too. When we first got engaged I made a point of taking it off for swimming. Not sure why I stopped that! So very glad you found yours. Thing though it may be, it would be devestating for it to be totally gone. Hope everything else is well with you. I love hearing and seeing your stories and photos! Vicki xx

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