When you attend Texas A&M University, there's this tiny little thing (obsession) called The Aggie Ring. When you've got about 90 hours under your belt (around the end of your junior year or beginning of your senior year), you qualify to receive this lovely gold ring. On Ring Day, you go down to the Association of Former Students building with your friends and maybe even your family and stand in line to receive your ring. You take a ton of pictures and feel lots of pride over your achievement. We had class rings in high school but I don't remember many people really caring about that. At A&M it is completely different. This is like the pinnacle of the Aggie experience. People wear their rings long past graduation. Like, until they die. The excitement of receiving this ring is probably only two notches below getting your engagement ring.
One of the main purposes of the ring is to be easily identified by other Aggies. The Aggie Network is a powerful thing. Basically, Aggies love to show favor to other Aggies. You just never know who you might meet because of your ring or what doors might be opened for you. Maybe the job of your dreams or a free vacation to some Old Ag's time share in Hawaii.
The night or weekend after you receive the coveted ring, you have your "ring dunking." Traditionally, you drop your ring in a pitcher of beer and then guzzle the whole thing down without stopping. Then you catch the thing in your teeth and take a picture. And then you puke. Or maybe you go to Swenson's with your friends and dunk it in a humongous thing of ice cream. (If you have lactose issues you get your own special hangover! Fun times!)
The whole point of my explanation of the Aggie Ring is this - I lost mine three years ago. I am not a huge fan of wearing jewelry. When I come home from doing something awesome and fabulous with my day, one of the first things I do is take my rings off. I don't know why. When I lost my ring I was three years past graduation and had become a bit of a two-percenter. I mostly wore my ring when I would be around other Aggies. I was also great with child, so my hands were more swollen than usual, making ring-wearing less than comfortable.
We moved from our little townhouse to our first home in December of 2005. I was 8 months pregnant. I remember putting my Aggie ring and a bunch of other jewelry in a little pouch and then packing it in a suitcase with some non-maternity clothes. Being pregnant and then having a post-partum figure for the next 9 months, I never unpacked that suitcase. It would be a while before I could wear those things. Then I forgot which suitcase it was. I knew my ring was up in our insanely packed attic somewhere, but I had no idea where it could be. I looked so many times. When we moved to Houston and unpacked a second time with no trace of the ring, I gave up hope.
I thought about buying a new one, but it would be really expensive and in that case I might rather have something pretty from Tiffany's. (Hisssssss...) Kidding! The Association of Former Students pays for half of the cost of your first ring, but if you are unlucky enough to have to replace it, you pay in full. Which is a lot. Plus, I figured I'd find it the next day after getting a new one.
Since we moved back home, it's been so sad not having my ring. There are SO MANY Aggies here and it gives you a common ground with people you don't know. Like at our LPM Bible study or at church. I'm not a naturally outgoing person, so it's nice to have something to chat about with someone new. (Some of y'all have encountered my awkwardness lately when you've been gracious enough to introduce yourselves to me. I'm sorry! I wish I were sanguine but the Lord didn't make me that way!)
Well, drum roll please, Hubs recently saved the day when he pulled out some random suitcases and boxes looking for a bunch of my maternity clothes. When I opened this particular suitcase I got so excited. The clothes were like a time capsule of the year we moved out of the townhouse. I just KNEW my ring was inside! But there was no ring! I was so bummed! A few days later - okay, a week or two later - I went to put the suitcase away and decided to look in the little zipper pockets on the front of my suitcase. There was the pouch! With nothing inside! My heart sank for a second but then I found all of my jewelry in the pocket itself. Yeah, Lord! Whoop! Not only was my Aggie ring inside, but there was also a little gold, diamond, and opal ring that Curt had bought me in India after we had been dating about 6 months. It was so special to me. I even dropped some hints when he went to India this time that I would love to have another opal ring if he saw some. I'm not sure which ring I am happier to have back.
Here's a tiny pic of my friends and me on Ring Day. LOOK AT MY WAIST! Ahem. Sorry for that outburst. I've just missed it.
Everyone reads Melanie's Big Mama blog, right? She makes me laugh every single day. Melanie's an Aggie too. This is my segue into something more meaningful than the Aggie ring. Melanie has been in the Dominican Republic this week with Compassion International. If you haven't been reading her blog, please go over there and check it out. We got a letter from our Compassion kid yesterday and it reminded me that I should post a link on the slim chance that one or two of you don't read her blog. I was actually approached about going on that trip, but this wasn't my year with the baby and all. Curt and I have loved getting to sponsor Marlon Alexander and I hope some of you will get to share that experience too!
Have a great Saturday!