Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Precious

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!

32 comments:

Kiki@Seagulls in the Parking Lot said...

I'm not very sanguine either! It's a wonder we met.

spicymagnolia.com said...

OH, yes, we know about the beloved Aggie ring! My brother is an Aggie (graduated '03) and so the rest of us in the fam are Aggies by heart. I'm even wearing my treasured and very worn "Aggie sister" sweatshirt today...it's always worn with much pride! We were eye witnesses to the ring dunkin' as well! It's incredibly fun and disgusting all at the same time! I'm so glad you found your two rings...how wonderful to discover you still have them. Have a great Saturday! :)

Bev Brandon said...

I happen to have on a shirt that reads Aggie Mom and have been at those ring ceremonies---you don't "get it" unless you are one. So glad you found it.

Tara said...

Amanda,

I am so glad that you found your ring! I am not an Aggie, but I am a Meredith College Angel, and we value our ring much the same way that you do yours! As a matter of fact, at Meredith, we have a "Ring Dinner" where we all put our rings on at the same time! There was even an ice-sculpture of the ring there! But you are so right, it makes conversation and connects other alumna that you might never be able to talk to!

I'm so glad that you found your ring and the India one too! Praise the Lord! I know how excited you must be!!!!

Love,
Tara

R said...

You had a Swensen's in college too? We had one in Denton at UNT, but it is no longer... :0( We mourned when it closed!

I'm like you--as soon as I get home, I'm out of my jewelry. I also shuck my shoes and my "going-out clothes" and jump into my "homemaker" uniform (yoga pants and sorority T) immediately! :0)

The UNT ring looks very similar to the Aggie ring, so I'm mistaken for an Aggie often. I'm always sad to correct people that no, I actually didn't go to A&M, but I wish I had! One day we hope to move that way so I can get my Masters at the Bush school.

valerie said...

I'm so glad you found your ring(s)!
What special favor from the Lord! I think that's such a neat tradition A&M has. I'd never heard that before.

I had a really pretty high school class ring and lost it too. I probably wouldn't have worn it much after high school, but would love to have it for a keepsake.

I'll be watching my OU Sooners playing the Aggies this afternoon on ABC. Boomer Sooner!! ;)

theweaver said...

Congrats on your fabulous find! I hate the 'safe' places and then the hunt for them later. I misplaced a ring Stephen got me for our first anniversary and it's never been seen again... five moves later, I doubt I'll ever see it...

Lisa said...

Amanda, I totally know now why I feel so comfortable commenting on your blog. I'm SO not an outgoing person, and I, too, feel completely awkward in social situations. Which makes it even more unreal that I was a high school teacher before having my first child. What in the world was I thinking???

Your ring story reminded me of my own. I lost my high school class ring. It was missing for over two years. It occurred to me to pray one day for help in finding it. I was cleaning out my room that particular day, and there it was, on my bedroom floor. It had falled out of a garbage bag that housed stuffed animals in my closet. For two solid years at least, the thing was missing, nowhere to be found, and then the very day I prayed to find it, there it was. Right in plain sight. God is so good.

Isn't it like Christmas or your birthday when you find something dear that's been lost? I hope after Baby Girl is born and rings aren't so uncomfortable, that you once again get to wear your Aggie and opal rings with pride. :)

Love and blessings,
Lisa

Heather said...

I am so glad you found your ring! I am introverted to a fault, so I understand about the social awkwardness. OH- and I also take off my wedding ring and other jewelry as soon as I hit the door!!!!

Big Mama said...

First, I'm going to give you a big WHOOP! on finding your Aggie ring.

Also, thanks for the link to the Compassion posts. It was an incredible trip. Maybe one of these days we can go on one together.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I'm SO laughing at your title.

Do you think Gollum was an Aggie?

(Congrats on finding the goods. I hate that feeling, when you know something IS in the house, but you cannot find it for the life of you.)

Gregg and Erin said...

Hi Amanda! I introduced myself to you in the Target parking lot - I'm not very good at it either... But it was nice to meet you. Now that I've had my baby three weeks ago, I sadly still can't fit my Aggie Ring back on my finger. However, my hubs surprised me with putting a diamond in the shield while it was off my oh-so-swollen fingers. Hopefully I can wear it soon!

Janice said...

Yay I'm so glad you found it! I love the whole ring dunking thing. I just attended my last college home football game :(... You definitely didn't seem awkward to me when I met you. I enjoyed meeting you!... guess I better go get finished getting ready for church!

Kristyn said...

YAY on finding your ring!!! Still wearing mine daily almost 7 years later!! :)

janet said...

I had a similiar experience with my engagement ring. To make a long story short, my engagement ring was lost the Christmas my younger daughter was nine months old and stayed lost for thirteen years. I found it in a jewelry pouch among some baby clothes that had been put in the attic and survived storage and a move to a new house. I had felt horrible, as you can imagine, not only for losing my engagement ring but the stone was from the engagement ring of my husband's mother who had passed away before we met. I have a wonderful husband who never onced fussed or complained about me losing the ring.

I am glad that you found your ring.

jen said...

Whooo hoo! Congrats on finding both rings! I have a similar story of losing my HS ring and finding it years later. It's almost like a piece of you is missing when something special like a HS/College ring is missing. Or a special ring given by a special someone. Isn't it neat that God knows the exact time we'll find what we've lost and is there to celebrate with us!

Bonny said...

Girl, look at ALL our waists! Don't know what you got till it's gone! Wish my ring fit! Love you...

Holly said...

I'm SO happy your found your "lost coins!!!"

You may know I am an Aggie grad, as well as my Chris. But because we married young and I transferred from UT to A&M, I actually had 132 hours when I graduated--yuk! Ahem. Anyway, I had a James Avery UT dangle ring (by the way I love to say dangle, dangle, dangle) and when I transferred to A&M, I felt the pressure and didn't wear it. Chris bought me an A&M dangle ring. (Of course he has a big, honkin' Aggie ring that he wears every single day.) When we moved to CO, I lost the dangle to the ring, then I found the dangle and lost the ring itself. THEN! I bought a new ring and lost the dangle. Dang.

So in San Antonio this summer, I made a special trip to James Avery to try and replace my dang dangle. They had an A&M dangle the size of three of my knuckles, so I ended up getting a heart. And that's the whole dangle story...

PS This Aggie would love to have you come stay in Colorado!

Joe, Ash and Hank said...

I also always take my jewelry off when I get home...so this weekend when we met Michelle's Phi Lamb girls, I didn't have it on. I felt bad because they were SO excited to see Joe's (husband)or any Aggie's outside of CS.

Congrats on the baby girl- Michelle hadn't mentioned you were pregnant- and I can't believe how close we are! I am sure you are enjoying all that sweet movement right now like I am.

Mandi said...

A good friend of ours is an Aggie and still wears his ring. He's told us of the many traditions at Texas A&M so it was funny to read this post. I'm so glad you found your ring and will not have to be counted as a two-percenter...Whoop!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Hey Little Momma:)

I didn't know that Texas A&M did that...I went to UT and the best thing they ever did for us was give us football tickets:)~(Now, the students have to pay for them)
That's a thrill to find lost things that you love:)...Little Momma, you sacrificed your itsy waist for a good cause i think:)...Big Mama's post was very moving, I have heard of Compassion, and I have wanted to sponsor a child. I'm still working on my husband saying yes, though:) I may just have to try again soon, perhaps show him that post...:) Have a great day too, Little Momma:)

katiegfromtennessee

boomama said...

Do you think my grandmother's ring that I lost about ten years ago is in that suitcase? Because that would be sixteen kinds of awesome. :-)

So glad you found it! And "amen" to what you said about the Compassion trip. Phenomenal to read about all of their adventures.

Beau, Melissa, and Brynne said...

Yeah for the aggie ring recovery! That was such a fine time! I hear Swensen's is no longer!! Love and miss you girl!

Lynn said...

Whoop - There it is!

glad you found The Precious!

JayCee said...

Amanda,
I lost my mother's wedding pictures once and was sick about it (I had taken them from her house - without her knowledge - to surprise her by putting them in a scrapbook/album.) Anyway, I searched and searched and prayed and prayed and when I finally gave up, I found them a few weeks later underneath my bed - still don't know how they got there! Needless to say my joy was unspeakable....reminds me of the parable of the lost coin in the Bible.
Glad you found your ring!!
Blessings,
Janet
P.S...BTW, do you know of any reason why my comments will no longer post on the LPM blog? I used to be able to, but the last few times I get an e-mail back saying: "failed permanently." I haven't changed anything or done anything different so I can't figure it out???? Any clues????
Thanks!

Jen said...

Oh yes, I know all about the aggie ring obsession. They are EVERYWHERE in Houston and definitely can get you some connections! :)

Saw you at church yesterday... you looked radiant!

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

So glad you found your ring! Although...something from Tiffany's would be nice!

3girlsmom said...

I love the traditions of different universities. I took my oldest daughter to the Auburn game this past weekend and took her to my dorm, rolling Toomer's Corner, etc. It was awesome and, even though she's only 7, I can't wait for her to be a student there!
I have also seen some pictures of people when they get their Aggie Ring. They are all doing the "thumbs up." What does that mean? Is it significant somehow?
Oh, I know so many people who take off their jewelry as soon as they get home - I am totally opposite. I haven't taken off my wedding/engagement rings in almost 12 years. I wear them constantly. I also wear an emerald ring (my oldest daughter's birthstone) that my husband gave me for my 1st Mother's Day. I never take it off, either. I will only take it off at her wedding when the ring becomes hers.
Glad you found your rings!

Lora said...

I'm so glad you found your ring! And I thought you were very gracious when we met - you looked at my name tag and saw where I was from and asked about my trip. You drew me right into a very comfortable conversation. Not one bit awkward at all.
You were taller in person than on the computer though - tee hee!

Lindsee said...

Glad you found "The Precious"!

My friend got her aggie ring one day, then got engaged the next day! Talk about excitement and a handful of rings to drool over. :)

And yes, the compassions posts have been fabulous!

foreverfoldinglaundry said...

Aww - my husband went to A&M for grad school and was an Aggie for two years. I just love all of those Aggie traditions! Your post made me a little "home"sick for College Station. Glad you found your ring!

yankee mama said...

Sadly as much as I would like to be I do not have that awesome sanguine personality! In fact when I meet new people my mind just starts realing for things to say...it just doesn't come naturally! Amazingly most of my bff's are pure sanguine!

So glad you found your ring that must have been so exciting! I have a ring that I lost (I know it was really stolen) I won't even say which one it was...too awful to confess!!

Blessings,
Suzi