Dorothy-Jean (Dody) Christian Chapman

A paper napkin ring, now opened and spread, lay slightly curled on our restaurant table amidst the clutter or our supper dishes. Our daughter, the younger of our two children, had returned to us after a long and boring drive across country from the Midwest. As we listened to her tell of her packing and closing her apartment, the paper napkin ring beckoned: its sticky edged ends were meant to hold the napkin and flatware together in this family-style eatery. Its white paper curl suggested the need to bind it to itself again for unbroken unity. Our daughter’s voice reminded us of our union so many years ago. The waitress cleared the dishes in a friendly gush of well-wishing while our daughter began to tell us of her new position in a nearby city. Our daughter would be searching for a suitable apartment, using our son’s home as a base of operation. The paper napkin ring remained on the table along with three used napkins after our waitress cleared the dishes. It required a tearing in half length-wise to create two ragged-edged pieces of sticky edged paper. We chatted about all the subjects important to our daughter as our hands gravitated to the paper napkin ring now torn in two. Our hands molded each piece around the left hand ring finger of the other. We admired our handiwork with much adoration, and to our daughter’s sudden realization that the little scrap of paper had assumed monumental significance to us. Our unspoken wedding vows had carried on playfully while surrounded by our daughter’s explanation of her new managerial responsibilities. We cracked up with mixed emotions of happiness, pride, and love as we modeled our paper wedding bands.

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