[dropcap]I[/dropcap] have worn two wedding bands for more than a dozen years. The rings seldom get noticed, but when I am asked about them, I respond, “I have two wives,” an answer that is met with a chuckle, a groan, or a weird look.
Recently, after leaving a business meeting, I stopped in the hallway to check text messages on my phone. As I was typing, a stranger paused and inquired, “Why are you wearing two wedding bands?” “I have two wives,” I said. This time there was no chuckle or groan. “No, really,” he said. “Why?”
I explained that I’d lost my father in 1999, shortly before the turn of the century, something he was really looking forward to experiencing. As we were saying our final farewells at his funeral, my mother, his wife of 50-plus years, removed his wedding band and handed it to me. Surprised, I placed the gold band on my left middle finger, next to my wedding band. There it has remained.
I told the stranger that I wear my father’s wedding band to honor my father and my parents’ marriage. I also wear it to remind myself to be the son, brother, husband, and dad that my father wanted me to be. I am now 60 years old and have been married for 30 years.
[pullquote]I wear it to remind myself to be the son, brother, husband, and dad that my father wanted me to be.[/pullquote]
The stranger nodded and, without a word, turned and walked down the stairs to the parking lot. I returned to my mobile phone and messages. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the stranger walking back toward me. He said, “Sir, you know, I have my father’s wedding band in my sock drawer at home, and beginning today, I am going to start wearing it.” I silently nodded, and the stranger quietly turned and walked back down to the parking lot. And I smiled.