On October 21st, 1948 my father,William E. "Bill" Mansfield, was given this ring to commemorate his 21st Birthday.
That was exactly 64 years ago. Had my Dad lived he would have turned 85 years old on Sunday, October 21st, 2012. (He passed away July 30th, 2012.)
His father-in-law, John J. Maguire bought the ring for Dad, had it engraved with Dad's initials on the outside of it and a simple message on the inside - along with the date... and then gave it to him.
And Dad wore it.
All through my childhood. I have memories of holding his hands as I bounced on his knee, looking at his ring, comparing the size of our hands. Seeing how different they were.
He wore the ring through all his children's births, through his two careers, through his strokes and heart attacks and through the births of his grandchildren and great grandchildren on into his own retirement.
He wore it until 2007 when, in a surprise act of thoughtfulness, he placed it on my finger as a gift by which I could daily remember both him and Grand Pop.
In April of this year, we said goodbye to each other. We both knew his last days were soon to be completed. Our friendship was firm, our old wounds and personal slights were healed. We loved each other.
I took another look at our hands together in April. The hand that wore the ring, for many years along with my hand that has worn it for only five years, so far. Both together.
And our hands remained different, still. Just as our lives remained different.
What represented a part of our commonness was now on my on MY finger as I bounce my grandchildren on my knee and wrestle with my grandson.
I rarely remove the ring we have in common; I did so recently just to look at the inscription and the date.
And to remember my Dad and my Grand Pop.