2014 Clark Scholarship Finalist – Essay 3

Jack and Diane had been dating for quite some time and were on track for the next big step. They met by chance eight years ago in a shabby diner tucked away in a small town outside of Boston. The pair enjoyed conversation over piping hot cups of coffee for hours. The connection was almost instantaneous, like they knew each other life times before. Diane spoke of how she strived to go against the grain. She was never much for conformity or following the trend. There was a sort of excitement in following the beat of her own drum. Jack was so intrigued by this, as it was something he had a hard time doing. His maternal grandfather, Benjamin, was always trying to encourage Jack to try something different. Growing up with a strict father, it was almost as if Jack had it drilled into his brain to follow the norm and do what was expected. The couple enjoyed many adventurous activities throughout the years making eccentric memories and stories to share.

As the years passed and the memories were made, Jack knew the time was coming. Their relationship was ready for the next level. The ultimate commitment. The engagement soon followed by the marriage. Diane had been subtly dropping hints that she was ready for a while. Their connection being so intense Jack of course picked up on these hints. Jack was just as ready as Diane except he was at a loss on how to complete the task. Jack knew no matter what he did Diane would say yes, but he wanted to astound her. He wanted to do something that was special and unique to her. In a conversation with his grandfather the engagement topic came up. Jack expressed his desire to not only pop the question in a unique way but he also didn’t want to give Diane a run of the mill ring. Jack wanted to get Diane a ring that truly fit her personality, a ring that embodied her spirit. Benjamin knew what the perfect ring would be but also knew it would take some convincing for Jack to agree.

Knowing his grandson would need ample reasoning to go along with the unconventional idea, Benjamin started off slowly. Being married for fifty years himself, Benjamin began describing love and marriage how he saw it. He explained that true love is something that develops over time. Although there might be something that sparks right away it takes time to truly cultivate love to make sure it endures and grows throughout the years. Benjamin explained to Jack that love and marriage are not just one dimensional. They are complicated. They are multi-layered. They are imperfect. They are colorful. Love and marriage are beautiful. Most importantly not all are the same. He then posed the question: Why should everyone’s ring be the same? If a ring is supposed to represent the everlasting bond between husband and wife shouldn’t it represent their specific bond? Jack’s eyes were starting to open up; Benjamin knew this was the moment to introduce the idea for the ring. Benjamin firmly stated that the ring should be made from Korite.

Korite?! Jack had never heard of such a gem. Benjamin offered the more common names of Ammolite and Calcentine but Jack was still just as baffled. Jack’s strict fall in line thought process started to emerge. How could he get the love of his life an engagement ring made from a gem that he had never even heard off? Benjamin quickly reminded Jack of his soon to be wife’s unique personality and how it would be a perfect fit. Benjamin explained to Jack the idea behind using Korite. He explained that Korite is a rare and valuable gemstone, with similar characteristics of opal. It’s local to the area, found primarily on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains. Benjamin emphasized to Jack that the composition is the one of the main reasons it would be ideal as an engagement ring. Ammolite, as Korite is commonly referred to as, is made of the fossilized shells of ammonites. Jack has never heard of an ammonite either. So of course Benjamin provided a brief to the point explanation of ammonites. They are an extinct group of marine invertebrate animals similar to that of today’s octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish. Jack was even more baffled as to why he should use a gem from the relative of a squid for his lovely wife. Benjamin explained that the fact that is a fossil is the point. Fossils have stood the test of time. This fossil in particular improves with age, as does marriage and love. Jack was starting to understand a little more why he should use Ammolite.

Benjamin decided to start explaining the look of the gem to keep Jack interested in such an outlandish idea. He told Jack that the look is the other important reason to use this peculiar gem for an engagement ring. Benjamin explained that just like love and marriage, Ammolite is very colorful. This gem displays a large array of colors, including all the primary colors and those found in between. The better preserved fossils display more vibrant colors. This is similar to a well-cared for marriage. The Ammolite is can also be very delicate requiring some type of supportive backing. Just like in love and marriage there must be a great support system for it to flourish and withstand throughout the years. Benjamin could see that he had convince Jack enough to commit to the idea. Now the next step trying to plan the event.

Benjamin also offered some insight on how to propose and how he had proposed to his wife some fifty years ago. Benjamin described how he took Georgette to her favorite place: a local diner. How he just casually brought it up over a hot piping cup of coffee in the middle of a passionate conversation about life goals. Jack realized it was that same diner he and Diane had met at eight years prior. Jack thought it was quite fitting to ask the same way his grandfather did and in the same place since it had such a significant meaning to both couples. He brought Diane to the shabby diner and began talking about a unique gem his grandfather had introduced to him. At just the right moment Jack took out the ring and popped the question. Without hesitation Diane said yes. She particularly loved the ring after such an eloquent explanation of the symbolism it had for love and marriage.