I wear a university class ring. It isn’t mine. I bought it off eBay six years ago. The words ‘Texas A&M University 1876’ encircle an eagle protected by a shield with the year ’73. The name ‘Clark Chisum’ is etched along the inside of the ring.
I tell people it’s a family heirloom, that it belonged to my American Uncle Clark. I say he was an astronaut with NASA who was part of the last Apollo mission.
Most people don’t know that the last Apollo mission was in 1972. They don’t even bother to look it up in Wikipedia. It’s just my own little private joke on the world.
In truth, the ring is my connection to an era lost to history. It was a time when Canadian pride was defined as being ‘Not American’. It was a time when even the Russians feared and respected America. And no one ever messed with Texas.
I slip off my ring and examine the stunning detail. It’s symbols carry powerful meaning. As I run my fingers along the Lone Star, I’m burdened with a sense of mourning, a fear that the joke is over.