The Ring and Pencil story

IMG_6607Relaxed on a mound of potatoes with a pencil near his mouth – that is exactly how I found the woodsboonie this fine winter morning. And it reminded me of a story grandfather shared with me last week.

Gramps went to school in a one room school house. His marks in deportment were usually abysmal (straight D’s) because he could not be quiet in class. No surprise there!

Often he could be found turning to talk to whoever would listen. He describes the girls in school as fairly nice looking with good New England faces. (This is in contrast to the ‘Sangerville’ who were all from Norway and svelte.) His misbehavior often involved talking and girls. Here he recounts the ‘ring and pencil’ story.

“When I was in third grade I took my mother’s diamond ring to school. Agnes Minn*(who was built like a large sack of potatoes) sat behind me in class. I have no idea why but I just turned around in the middle of the school day and gave her the ring. She in turn gave me a 3 inch pencil which I then swallowed. Neither the ring or the pencil ever appeared again.

“Twenty or so years later, Mom was looking around the house for her diamond ring.” (Wait, that would make Gramps about 28. Maybe, because of his guilty conscience, it just seemed like twenty years. I have learned that memories are not an exact science.)

“‘Where, oh where is it?’ Mom was saying, ‘I left it in the silver bowl on top of the piano.’ (That bowl was the life of Buddha pounded into a solid silver bowl sent home to her by her father who was a missionary in Burma.)

“So I confessed. ‘I took the ring and swapped it for a pencil, which I then swallowed.’  Mom and I  went down and talked to Agnes but she could not remember a thing. And she was still built like a sack of potatoes.

“My dear mother forgave me and I often wondered if that eraser was still inside me to erase all the dumb things I do. I tell this story so people know I am just as dumb as the next guy. And maybe they will excuse at least some of the foolish things I do.”

*Names changed to protect the potatoes. I mean the people.


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3 Responses to The Ring and Pencil story

  1. kathyallegra says:

    This is magnificent! More, please!!!

  2. Cindy says:


  3. dawn says:

    Thanks for sharing!

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