January 16, 2012

Now that they're gone.


                Isn't it curious how things seem to have a bit more importance once you no longer have them?   This reality hit me a bit harder than expected when we realized our wedding rings were missing.
                Thing is we don’t wear them very much.  In fact I can’t remember the last time I wore my ring. It has been so long I don’t even have an indentation on my left hand or a tan line as most wives do.  I stopped wearing my rings a couple years ago when I was in and out of the hospital.  I kept it in a Lenox Shell dish we received as an engagement gift almost 25 years ago which sat on my dresser along with other pieces of jewelry.  Michael isn’t able to wear his wedding ring at work for safety reasons.  His ring was stored quite uniquely on the arm of a witch.  That is it’s a piece from his Franklin Mint Wizard of Oz Collection that I bought as his wedding gift.
                Early December Michael was clearing the top of his dresser (his catch all) and noticed his ring wasn't where it was supposed to be.  I assured him it had to be there somewhere, maybe it fell behind the dresser or he put it somewhere else and just forgot.  He was upset about it while I wasn’t too worried saying I knew it would show up.  Then Sunday while reorganizing some drawers and my dresser top ~ which ok also is usually covered with papers and such~ I saw that my ring as well was gone.  When we were looking for Michael’s ring I thought I checked on my ring among the jewelry in my dish, now I'm not so sure.
     Here’s the thing.  We don’t have really anything of value in our house especially when it comes to jewelry.  I’ve often thought how Emily has a set of pearls and a platinum cross.  The only pearls I have are fresh water from when I was a bridesmaid that I have stored in the jeweler’s box in my dresser.  Michael has a nice watch that doesn’t work so that’s not out either.  Even the best electronics in the house belong to the kids.
        We have no real clue what happened to them.  We don’t believe we were robbed as nothing else is missing, but again there isn't much of anything to take even both of our TVs are over 10 years old. Then I was thinking with all of the gold signs everywhere how hard is it to sell some rings?  
      We can only come up with two possible scenarios.  Did something happen during our weekend trip to Mobile?  We had a neighbor’s son take care of the dogs while we were gone, maybe he didn't lock up one night? The other thought is maybe we left the garage door open one day without realizing it?  Who knows.
                We’d like to think our rings were special, though I’m sure every married couple does.  We designed our rings.  Mine was an inset with 4 begets and Michael’s held 5 small begets.   Both rings had five diamonds (counting my engagement ring) as we planned on having 5 children (oh dear heavens what were we thinking ~ ah the young and foolish). The plan with my ring was when the day comes to have it separated into three separate rings.  Each of the girls would have a part of the wedding ring and the engagement ring would pass onto Patrick.  My rings haven’t separated in over 20 years.  Spring 1991 I was recovering on the couch after an outpatient procedure and put my rings on the coffee table.  When I awoke they were nowhere to be found. Lying next to me the entire time was our dog Hobbes.  Three days later Michael finally found the rings outside in the yard with one of the begets missing.  Need I say more as to what happened! We took the rings to various jewelers and despite various attempts the rings couldn’t be separated without cutting them and I just didn’t want to do that.
                So I guess I am going to truly have to live up to my comments of not needing things to hold onto memories.  I’ll be honest I never thought I’d have to apply that to my wedding ring.

January 9, 2012

I Started the Year Out Green

I started the year out Green.
     Though it is a few days off the first of the year I did get to start the year off “Green”.  Thursday Fleming Island and Middleburg High Schools along with 24 other schools in the area attended a matinee showing of Wicked.    Being able to enjoy seeing this with both Patrick and Meg was a true treat.  Hearing the laughs and reactions of hundreds of other students made this one of the best shows I have ever attended.
     Arts or as most refer to it now “The Arts” are something we have tried to expose our kids to while growing up.  While they were young we would go to art museums and take advantage of their kid programs.  Touring historical sites was often a family outing.  Watching PBS offerings was a common occurrence.  Music accompanying dinner was always classical thanks to radio offerings on cable.
            When we as a nation continue to honor our artists through such accolades as the Kennedy Center Honors why is it that we continue to annihilate performing art programs in our schools???  Where do we think the next generations of award recipients are going to come from if we refuse to acknowledge the importance of arts in our schools?
            I was lucky enough to grow up on Long Island in a school district where the arts are celebrated.  All children in third grade learned to play the recorder and selected an instrument to study in fourth grade.  I had no clue what an incredible opportunity that was until I realized my children would be not afforded that same opportunity.  I can’t blame the Clay County school board completely for this as it seems to be a growing trend around the country.  Now no decent school that has a football team (and this is the south so ALL schools have one)  is ever going to NOT have a band so once students hit 7th grade they can choose to study a Band instrument.   Those who had dreams of playing a stringed instrument are out of luck, if you can’t march with it you won’t learn it in Clay County.  Of course if you happen to be born into a family that has the resources that will allow you to study privately you can bow away.   Right over the border Duval County’s music program does offer the opportunity for students to study ANY instrument.  We are fortunate that Jacksonville has an incredible Youth Orchestra and Children's Chorus. (Emily thoroughly enjoyed singing with them)
            Developing the love of arts goes beyond simply participating.  Whether it is an Orchestra or Modern Art Museum none can survive without Patrons.  Patrons don’t just happen they develop.  Granted there are those who write checks for a number of causes simply due to being able to see their name listed among others in the community. HOWEVER Most Patrons are true lovers of arts.  They recognize and embrace the importance that arts have in a society.  Would Beethoven or Mozart been able to create musical masterpieces had it not been for their Patrons? Would Leonardo have been able to create the Vitruvian Man if he had to wait tables to support his art career?
      Why is it that an art program is the first offered up when budget cuts are necessary?  Emily and Patrick enjoyed having an art class for the first few years of school until we were redistricted when a new school was opened.  Though it had only been first grade one of Patrick’s paintings was chose for our County’s art show, he never had an art class again.  Meg, on the other hand,  did not have an art class until 5th grade when a new elementary school was opened (yes lucky us got to open 2 Elementary schools).  She was bitten by the art bug only to have it exterminated when the school cut the program due to funding after its first year.  I am not suggesting that either was going to be the next Jackson Pollack or Georgia O’Keefe but what’s not to say someone else in their school may have been with just the introduction of art in their lives.
    Thank goodness that there are opportunities like we had last Thursday that exposes children to incredible performances like Wicked.  The Broadway in Jacksonville Artist Series offers a matinee once a year at reduced prices with the sole purpose of reaching students with shows they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. 
     It is kind of funny how this post developed.  I was originally going to write about how much I enjoy chaperoning field trips; obviously my subconscious had other plans.   My local school board knew me by name while my kids were in Elementary School and their art programs were being cut.  Granted I was only one voice.  However I truly believe that one voice can make a difference and I will continue to fight for art programs in our schools~ will you join me?
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