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Russ Kay: "Lovebird Rings"
Bar Harbor
Letter dated 9/9/2003

Russell Kay
8 Tupelo Road
Worcester, MA 01606

Mr. David Morgan
avid Morgan
11812 North Creek Parkway N., Suite 103
Bothell, WA 98011

Re: Lovebirds NW Trade rings

Dear Mr. Morgan:

I recently bought two of these rings, in sterling silver, for my wife Harriet and I to wear as what I like to think of as second-generation wedding rings. We got our original wedding rings 39 years ago in Chicago, and neither one of us has been able to get them on the appropriate fingers for decades.

I had actually gotten Harriet one of these rings from you a couple of years ago, just as a piece of jewelry. Harriet’s had problems with finger swelling, so that a fixed ring size ends up, at some point during the day, being excruciatingly tight (and unremovable) or falling-off loose. The split design of the Lovebirds ring made it possible for her to wear a ring again.

Some months back, she lost that ring and was very upset – upset enough that she didn’t want to tell me about it at first.

But I had a more deeply personal reason for getting these as a surprise. We have just learned in the last couple of weeks that Harriet has metastatic breast cancer, for which she starts treatment this week. This marks a pretty fateful step down a road we never wanted to travel on. The prognosis is a lot shorter than we had been planning on. We still have some years to spend together – we hope – but not nearly so many as we wanted.

So I got the two rings, along with one of your wedding ring boxes in which to deliver them. In this time of trouble, I wanted to wear the same ring she did, as a physical sign – both to her and to me – of my support and commitment. I gave Harriet the rings today, and we each put one on. She was in tears, and I was pretty close myself.

I’d like to say a few words about the symbolism attached to wedding rings, both the traditional variety and why I chose the Lovebirds ring.

Traditionally, or so I’ve heard, wedding rings are gold, signifying both purity and the ability not to tarnish or lose their lustre; the ring geometry itself is said to symbolize everlasting union, with no end. (There are other symbolic meanings, but these are the ones I want to talk about.)

The Lovebirds rings – silver, not gold; split, not whole – fly in the face of such traditions, and I think that they much more truly represent what a marriage is really about.

Silver tarnishes; you have to work to keep it shining. A marriage can grow dull too, if both partners don’t work at keeping it bright and alive.

As for the split, nothing is forever, something Harriet and I have been made acutely aware of these last few days. I think the split ring is a useful way to signify two different individuals coming together and staying together for the long haul. We’re not joined in a rigid, immutable relationship. Instead, we can flex with changing times and differing needs, growing tighter or looser.

Of course, the very name, Lovebirds, means a lot to us too. Even (or maybe I mean especially) after 39 years.

Thank you, David Morgan, for making these available.


                                                            Russell Kay

P.S.  You may or may not remember me, Mr. Morgan. I’m a short, fat, bald guy who visited your store twice on successive days a couple of years ago, agonizing over and finally buying an Akubra Banjo Patterson hat and also taking away a free bag of leather scraps. I spent quite some time talking then with you about various products you carry and about kangaroo leather. I recall looking at a pair of kangaroo gloves and sighing, “I just lose too many gloves,” to which you replied, “that’s the best kind of customer to have!” That visit is still a delightful memory. I hope you are well.
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Your parents?

This means especially more to me, as I am filling out a survey / questionnaire preparatory to taking a program on dealing with the death of a loved one.

Yes. My father died just over a year ago, and I've been slowly going through his papers, and sharing the interesting ones on-line.

I wish you well in coping with your own loss.

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