Of Rings and Things

The third year of college, similar to the junior year of high school, is unique in that generally, this is the year students are allowed to choose their class rings.

ND class rings, large and small

Four years ago, My Favorite Domer (AKA College Guy) refused to have a high school class ring, even when I offered to pick up the tab for it.

‘I’d only wear it two years at most,’ he said. ‘Why spend a couple of hundred dollars on something like that?’

Part of me agreed with him. It was a rather senseless-sounding expense.

But back in the day, most of us wore our high school rings into college, thereby extending the practicality of the purchase.

Different times, I guess.

In the spring semester of his sophomore year, I received a flyer with information on ordering College Guy’s class ring — a ring he wouldn’t be allowed to receive or wear until two weeks into his junior year — and I shared it with him over the phone.

‘Definitely!’ he answered to my question about his desire for one.

When he came home in May, we pored over the brochure and the Website, examining the options, weighing the costs of the different metals, finishes, stones and sizes. Soon he knew exactly what he wanted.

So over the summer we trekked to South Bend and placed the order. It was way more money than either of us wanted to spend, but how can one put a price tag on memories?

Recently he called and announced he’d gotten his ring. I won’t get to see it for a while, but I marvel at the tradition, the history:

  • Notre Dame class rings haven’t changed since they were first offered, some 80 years ago!
  • Rings are worn with the school name facing the owner until that person graduates; the ring is then “turned outward to face the world.”
  • Class rings feature shamrocks, Celtic font, a cross, the interlocking ND, the school seal, and the Dome.
  • Rings can be personalized with initials, name, and graduation year.

Do you still have your class ring, from high school or college? Does it hold special memories for you?

Shivering in the Deep Freeze

Anybody miss me??

I took a couple of weeks off so I could visit with family and friends in the supposedly warm South over the Christmas holidays. Was I wrong or what?

The temperatures were hanging in the 20-degree area and that, coupled with the notorious dampness that descends over big bodies of water like the Gulf of Mexico, made the “feels like” temperature even chillier.

But I’ve got to hand it to them — at least, there was sunshine. Lots of sunshine. And somehow, that makes the cold more bearable.

If cold is ever bearable!

I tend to be a warm weather kind of person. Probably it hearkens to living in the South and Southwest for so many years. At any rate, I know what they say, “You can always put on clothing, but there’s only so much you can take off before it becomes indecent.”

Well, have you ever tried to work in a coat and mittens?? Have you?

Not so easy.

And even though you’re all bundled up, try shoveling snow when the thermometer reads “5 degrees” and a stiff North wind is slapping you in the face!

I take small comfort from the fact that most of the U.S. is now suffering what the Weather Channel calls an “Arctic Blast.” After all, this is winter and it’s supposed to be cold, right?

Wrong.

It’s NOT supposed to be this cold.

Florida is NOT supposed to get snow and ice, for Pete’s sake!

To top it all off, I’m having to haul My Favorite Domer back to South Bend in time for Spring Semester classes to start on Tuesday.

You’d think they’d consider postponing students’ return, in light of what can only be considered treacherous road conditions. You’d think they’d be worried about kids (and parents) traveling from across the country. You’d think they’d take a cue from local elementary and secondary school districts, who factor in “snow days” when they prepare their calendars.

Wrong, again.

I called to check if classes would resume on time. Oh, yes, they said. Absolutely.

So everybody listen up. Be careful out there! And if you see me creeping along the icy roads, steer a wide path around me.

I might be slow to get there, but I want to get there in one piece!