I published this on my Patch.com blog last year.
The Cuff Links
use a picture of Jim from Fresno State College
When I met my husband, Jim Schoettler, he usually
wore a white shirt with French Cuffs when he was dressed for church or to go
“out”. With that shirt he wore a pair of
simple gold ovals with an engraved “S” in the center of the oval. I learned
later that these were more than favorite cuff links they were his only
school sweetheart gave them to him. He
laughed when I told him I was jealous of them.
“Why? That’s over.” Although he
added others over time he was loyal to those early cuff links because they
carried and acquired history and he wore them often until he died. I got over
being jealous as I came to understand that Jim was not one to waste money on
something he already had and liked. Things were just things to him.
did agree about that. I am one of those people who is apt to imbue
"things" with mystical power and sentimental meaning.
One day recently when I was reviewing my list of
the things that I had to do for the day I remembered that I had taken my red
striped shirt, the one with French cuffs, to the cleaners and had not picked it
up yet. I was startled as I thought about those French cuffs and the cuff
links I had been wearing with it - - Jim’s oval cuff links. I do that a lot. Wear some thing of his as a
way to feel he is close by. But this time the more important point was that I
could not recall removing them before I dropped the shirt off at the cleaners.
I squeezed back the tears realizing that if they
dropped out of the sleeves they would be
lost to me. I felt terrible. I quickly
finished dressing so that I could get to the cleaners as soon as possible.
I was glad the familiar friendly woman was behind
the counter at the cleaners when I pulled open the door and rushed in. I told her my problem, “Do you have my
husbands cuff links in your lost and
“I will look.” But they were not there. She looked
at my face and added, “If you left them in and they found them at the plant
they will be in a little envelope pinned to the invoice on the shirt." She
walked into the back room and I heard her pushing the heavy revolving rack
around and the crackle of plastic as she checked the names on the
a very long time and I was beginning to tear up again. When she returned she
hung all my items on the front rack - and then she handed me a small envelope.
"Here you are sweetie." I opened it and inside were two familiar gold
ovals. The tears I had been struggling to hold back slipped freely down my
waiting behind me who had heard it all volunteered, “I don't get that attached
“I try not to care so much but my husband died last year and those are his cuff links.”
”OK. I get it. That's terrible – sort of like
flushing your engagement ring down the toilet.”
Choking back a laugh, and working hard to keep a
straight face, I nodded.
Back in the car I laughed out
loud but none-the-less I am grateful that the cleaners agree - - small
things do mean a lot.