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We never had the wedding “registry and gift” thing. Partly, it was the 1970s and we were on the hippy edge of “normal.” Not far, but just enough that a big wedding with brides maids, groomsmen, fancy china and stuff like that were not on our radar. Our decision to get married was about the same—unconventional.

My spouse asked what I wanted for Christmas and I said I wanted a wedding ring. He sort of missed the communication since I muttered it into a pan where I was cooking canned green beans. Before we finished the discussion I had burned the beans and we were on a 2nd can. But, we had decided we should both get wedding rings for Christmas.We got married on Christmas Eve. It was just us, the minister and a couple of mild acquaintances for witnesses. It was the best Christmas gift I ever got. We both like Christmas Eve a lot. We did not get presents.

Years later we had a church-wedding blessing. It still was a humble thing. My mom made my dress, we had no attendants, and it was part of the regular Wednesday evening service at our church. We had a “covered dish” reception. The day of the ceremony my mom and my spouse’s parents helped us clean the tiny, rural church. After cleaning, we drove the 15 miles home, got all gussied up and drove the 15 miles back. I don’t remember much about wedding presents we got—other than the gifts of food—but we did get a pair of home-made bicycle wheels. Those wheels burned in the fire as did the dress and the photos.

As time passed and our families blended as they do over 35 years, I inherited many generations of china. We loved them. They burned in the fire. I had my wedding ring on when the fire came, my spouse had taken his off for a bit and it melted in the fire. We have the lump of gold but not a ring.

Yesterday we ran into a friend we have not seen for a while. She had heard about the fire from her mom. She and her mother wanted us to have a set of antique dishes they had. We were awed. After we saw her we went to our local grocery-and-everything store and bought new, inexpensive, temporary wedding rings until we can remake the old ones (see photo below). Everyone working in the jewelry area came out to help and to listen to our story. There were actually more people at the jewelry counter than there were at our wedding. Later we went to get the dishes. They are very much like one of the sets we had (see photo below). The new rings and dishes sing the same song as the old ones did. They sing of home, family, love, joy and commitment. As I drifted to sleep last night I could hear their song.