March 15 '08
Volume 615


Ring Back Class Rings Part II

In returning my college ring to the manufacturer, I had doubts the original warranty would be honored for I previously had the ring resized by a jeweler. However, I proceeded with Plan A and asked Barbara to fill in the blanks of the form where legible writing was needed, and I found a mailer in the computer room to use for express mailing.

I printed a copy of the addresses, one for a Post Office Box and the other one the physical address needed by Fed-X, UPS, or other national couriers. I had bolded the text for the physical address, thinking surely my wife would interpret the bold print as my preferred mailing method. That, and the fact I asked her to insure the package and retain the tracking information left me feeling fairly confident all would be well. Of course, my mistake was in providing a choice.

I left on a business trip and phoned her that evening to check in and asked about the package.

"I took it to the Museum Post Office," she shared. "And, I sent it U.S. Mail."

My heart sank.

"You sent it by U.S. Mail," I seethed in silence, "to be handled by folks that sometimes ‘go postal,’ who lose envelopes on a regular basis, misdirect mail, deliver to the wrong address, etc. You sent it by U.S. Mail?"

"And, I kept the tracking information," she assured.

Returning home a few days later, Barbara handed me the postal receipt. I didn’t understand how the Post Office could track my package, but I surely couldn’t by using their online service.

I shared my dilemma with my wife who quietly pointed out, "Mae said the Post Office could verify it reached the proper destination. That’s all I know."

I comforted myself with thoughts that the insurance was sufficient to cover the cost of the ring if mine should be lost. But, in hindsight and with the current price of gold on the world market, I doubt four hundred dollars would cover half the cost of a new ring.

I decided to wait a few days and call Balfour to confirm receipt of the ring. In the meantime I received a call from one of their representatives.

"Mr. Carter?" she asked, to confirm who I was. "This is Glenda with Balfour College Rings. We were unable to process your credit card last night. May I please confirm we have the right card number?"

She read off the number as I looked at my Visa card. There were no discrepancies.

"Do you want me to give you a different credit card? I have a MasterCard that I often use for online purchases."

"Let’s wait and see if it processes tonight," she responded. "Perhaps, there was a keying error."

"Has my ring already been repaired?" I quizzed.

"No, Sir." She replied, "It’s in repair, now."

Twenty-four hours later Glenda phoned to say the credit card didn’t process. This time she took down my MasterCard information.

Perplexed as to why my Visa card wasn’t processing, I phoned Visa customer service. I was ill prepared for the response.

"I don’t show that as a valid card number," the representative stated.

She keyed my number again and insisted the card number didn’t exist in the Visa database. It’s difficult to argue with a computer, even when a human is attached to the computer, but I insisted my Visa card was valid.

"Ma’am," I replied, "I used this card to buy gas this morning as well as the day before. The card must be valid."

"Oh, here it is," she exclaimed. "It’s a corporate card!"

"Yes, it says that above my name, SUPERVALU Corporate Card, but the only thing corporate about it is SUPERVALU issued it to me. I pay the bill, not SUPERVALU."

I finally got to explain the reason for my call was the card had recently been declined for no apparent reason.

It only took her a moment to respond.

"Your company disallows jewelry purchases,"

Suddenly, it all made sense, and I remembered some of what I had read years ago when the card was issued to me…’cardholder is required to pay balance in full each month…a late fee of $10.00…to be used for business purposes, only.’

There may have been a list of disallowed purchases, I don’t remember. Having never had the card declined for a disallowed purchase, I’ve grown accustomed to using my corporate card as I would a regular credit card. I’m just glad I didn’t try to use it when I bought Barbara’s journey necklace last August. I would have been embarrassed had the card been declined.

A few days later, I phoned the Balfour Company to check on the status of my ring repair. I was informed the ring was still in repair and was given an order number for reference if I wanted to check back in a few days. I didn’t bother, but about ten days later I found a sticky-note from DHL, a courier service, stuck on the garage door. The note stated my signature was required for the delivery and that the courier would attempt the delivery the next day.

Returning home the next day, I discovered a new note stuck on the garage door with new instructions to sign the back of the sticky-note for the package to be left at the door. I had no clue the package contained my college ring. I had ordered several items for home delivery in the prior weeks, and it could have been a shirt from J.C. Penny or the Logitech Bluetooth mouse (another story) I was expecting.

The yellow DHL carton felt empty when I picked it up the following day. I shook it and heard nothing move inside it. Opening it and peering inside, I saw a small box snugly sandwiched between the top and bottom sides of the box. Excitement grew as I withdrew the ring box and packing slip.

"My ring, my ring," I almost danced for joy. "My ring’s here!"

Opening the back velvet case, I was delighted to see my reconditioned ring. The break had been superbly repaired to a "like new" appearance. My name was newly engraved inside the band, and the exterior crevices had been re-blackened to improve the relief of images and lettering. I am well pleased with the repair and refurbishment.

In checking with my Uncle Lamar about his college ring, he shared that his sister-in-law had his and Earl’s college rings "melted down into a pendant with a red stone embedded in the center…So much for respect of education ‘imagery objects.’"

Personally, I won't authorize any of my rings being melted as long as I'm alive, but when I'm gone, it won't matter to me what's done with them.  I have the feeling they'll be sold for the gold in them. But maybe, just maybe, one of my granddaughters will want one as a keepsake.


Pontotoc Snow One-Day Wonder

They say if you place a chimpanzee in front of a typewriter and give him long enough, he’ll crank out a novel. To my way of thinking, given long enough, a weatherman will forecast a snow and it will really snow. That was the case last week, when all three meteorologists at WTVA, Tupelo, Mississippi, predicted our area would see one to two inches of snow.

It began snowing Friday afternoon, which not only made it possible for folks at home (some at work) to look out their favorite window and enjoy the falling snow, but it also prompted quite a number of folks to raid the bread and milk aisles of the area grocery stores. Though it’s rare anyone in North Mississippi ever gets snowed-in or iced-in, very few folks are convinced they have the food staples to survive more than a day or two without running to the supermarket.

I was at home when Barbara came in from work to tell me it looked like we already had an inch of snow.

When I questioned her as to where she’d seen such an accumulation, she stated, "On the garbage cans."

We stepped outside the garage door and onto a wet sidewalk and deck. At that time the temperature was still above freezing. I raked a handful of snow off the top of the garbage can to expose the depth of the snow.

"Looks more like three-quarters of an inch to me," I shared.

By evening, the larger snowflakes were replaced by some that could hardly be felt on ones face, let alone seen, but as far as I could make out it was snow and not sleet.

I bedded down Friday night without checking to see if the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, though I doubt the moon was visible.

Arising Saturday morning, the ground was blanketed with snow as were our shrubs and hedges. Even the naked limbs of the trees were iced with Nature’s wondrous winter gift.

Walking to the mailbox to get the morning newspaper wasn’t difficult because the roadways had been too warm for accumulation and even the melted snow had not frozen overnight to our concrete driveway. Knowing the rising sun would soon melt away the snowscape, I made a few pictures and even measured the depth of snow on the roof of my car and on the garbage can. On those, the snow measured 1.75" and 2.25", respectively. Ours was hardly a snow to remember, but as we like to say in these parts, "It was nice, while it lasted."


Collierville Snow A Spiritual Reflection

I wasn’t the only writer inspired by the snow last weekend. The following came our way from Ralph Jones of Collierville, TN. Ralph shares he wrote this at daybreak Saturday morning.

A Winter Day

Looking out my study window there is a multitude of black trees and limbs, with a fence and stacked firewood of varying shades of gray everywhere. All the greens of grass and bush, the color of flowers and colorful plants have long since gone for the duration of winter. About all that is left are pines that retain green needles through this long winter night. Only two or three jonquils had begun to poke their heads out and at a narrow angle they could be seen from the window, but winter had been a long time at leaving.

A cloudy, gray day with no sun and often with much rain and enough wind to blow the cold wet chill through a warm coat is our typical winter day. No, winter is usually not bad with ice and freezing flotsam falling from the gray clouds above; it’s just cold, miserable, and blah.

It’s depressing enough to make one want to run outside screaming, "Do something, anything, just give us a change of some kind."

It started like a thief sneaking in late yesterday, disguising itself as just another day of drizzling rain, and then quietly and without warning, it turned into teeny tiny ice pellets, then small snowflakes. By the time most of the working folks around had a mid-afternoon break for a soda or coffee and peeked outside, it was snowing like a small blizzard. The wind blew the white stuff around and then back again as if it could not decide where to drop it.

Cars parked in the lot were covered with two inches and it was difficult to see the street out front, the white just seemed to hover like a fog, not rising nor falling, just residing. Since it was getting later on this Friday afternoon, businesses began to close, evidently schools had shut down earlier, and the streets were filled with cars going home and to the grocery store to buy whatever it is that moms seem to think is imperative to purchase when that white stuff begins to fall from the sky.

As the afternoon turned into evening, more and more of the white, wet snow continued to fall. The night grows eerie quiet and darkens as the soft pedals of winter fall unpretentiously to the earth.

Before daybreak on Saturday, our carport light cast a warm yellowish glow across the white wilderness of snow, so unnatural, so peaceful, so beautiful. Now, as the sun is beginning to poke stringy fingers of gold across the new fallen snow of lawns and trees, the white covering glistens even whiter than before. The blue sky above only enhances the scene of a winter wonderland spread across an ocean of once dark and gray and black.

The trees once black and gray have turned mostly white. The upper sides of all the limbs and the windward sides of the trunks are now white with the wet snow. The dull, scraggly, colorless grass, rough and irregular is now covered all soft and smooth with a coat of the brilliant white. The once gray wooden fence shows a row of snow on it’s narrow top cap and since the planks are vertical only the internal horizontal cross bars have captured the snow and makes it look somewhat like a wide zipper stretching between our yard and the next.

It reminds me of the scripture that says, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow."

Just as the rainbow is a promise of not another flood, the snow surely must symbolize His love that covers our black, dark, dreary sins. Thank you Lord for a beautiful covering of your love!


Bodock Beau Insights Of Children

Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had a different hair color than the other members. One of her students suggested that he was adopted.

A little girl said, "I know all about adoption, I was adopted."

"What does it mean to be adopted?" asked another child.

"It means", said the girl, "that you grew in your mommy's heart instead of her tummy!"

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On my way home one day, I stopped to watch a Little League base ball game that was being played in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench at the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was.

"We're behind 14 to nothing," he answered with a smile.

"Really," I said. "I have to say you don't look very discouraged."

"Discouraged?," the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face.

"Why should we be discouraged? We haven't been up to bat yet!"

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Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot in life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott. Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen.

On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. "Guess what, Mom," he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me....."I've been chosen to clap and cheer."

Shared by Sharon Crane


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