A Matter of Distinction

A friend asked me the other day, “What’s new?”

“It’s my birthday on Wednesday,” I replied.

“Oh, are you going to be 65?!” he asked, intending it as a jest.

“No, 64. But 65 would be great, because then I’d finally be eligible for Medicare,” was my rejoinder.

I certainly am looking forward to being relieved of the stresses and uncertainties of employer-based health insurance. But in the meantime, I’m also looking forward to my birthday tomorrow.

Al and I decided to celebrate this past weekend, staying overnight close to Boston for a special dinner out on Saturday night, a great performance by Berlin-based Max Raabe & Palast Orchester at Berklee College of Music, a wonderful brunch Sunday morning with Mindi, and on to an afternoon at the Museum of Fine Arts. I came home feeling celebrated and refreshed.

This, despite some really nasty, cold weather that precluded any chance to wear festive springlike clothes for the occasion. Instead, I decided to decorate my hands.

I haven’t worn any of the beautiful heirloom rings that belonged to my mother and grandmothers in many years. Why draw attention to my fingers? They’re so distorted, especially now, after all the surgery last fall. Or so I’ve told myself.

But Saturday afternoon, as I packed my bag, I reconsidered. Why not? The jewelry reminds me of women that I loved. Both my grandmothers were very elegant, with incredible fashion sense and strong, individual taste. My father’s mother always wore a beautiful opal ring, set like a flower with small opals as petals.

As I child, I wondered why she didn’t have a diamond ring like every other married woman I knew. But now I can really appreciate how distinctive a statement she was making.

So that’s the ring I chose to wear for my birthday weekend. I could only fit it on my left pinky, next to my wedding ring. The gold of one does not match the other. I didn’t care. It simply made me feel good to touch its detailed surface and remember her. It also felt good to assert to my own sense of style.

My fingers are certainly distinctive. And I have ring to match.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.


  1. Paticia Bizzell says:

    What a beautiful ring, Evie. I love opals! And cheers to you for decorating your fingers.

    Hope your birthday on the 18th is as festive as your celebratory week-end!

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