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Fun Friday Supplemental—“The Ring Pull” Story Idea

Friday, May 25, 2012

So this story idea struck me today, and I thought I’d write it down and share it. Tell me what you think.

Five Golden Rings
The ring pull. A tradition in my big Southern family going back four generations. At every wedding of a female family member, all other unmarried female family members must take part in the ritual. The special cake must look odd to the in-laws and guests unfamiliar with our quirk, what with all of the thin silk ribbons dangling from it (matching the bridesmaids’ dresses, of course). And it seems like overkill, what with the bouquet toss that follows.

But it’s tradition. And it’s never failed.

Each single gal over the age of eighteen and under the age of forty must participate. Take hold of one of the ribbons and, at the tinkle of Great-Great-Grandma O’Connell’s antique Irish crystal bell, pull. At the end of each ribbon, a plain, thin-band ring. All silver except one. One is gold (tone—as if any bride would buy a real gold ring for a poor spinster relative). And the lucky girl who gets the golden ring is guaranteed to be the next one married.

As I said, it’s never failed.

Except with me.

You know the Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”? Yeah, well Number Five describes me perfectly. I pulled my first golden ring at my oldest cousin’s wedding when I was nineteen. That was back when I still believed in the tradition.

For months, I looked around me at all the boys I knew at my small liberal-arts college—and even a couple of young, single professors—wondering which one would soon be proposing marriage to me.

At my older sister’s wedding two years later, I was the maid of honor. And I had the honor of still being single—as in never-asked-out, never-kissed single. And I pulled another golden ring. At this point, I already knew none of the guys at school were in the running—they’d had two years to pop the question, after all. So I started looking elsewhere. I left the small, family-like church I’d grown up in and started attending a megachurch near downtown, the one with the huge college and singles groups. I gave every guy there the opportunity to ask me out by participating in every outing, every Bible study, every retreat, every service. I even joined the choir, since a few of them sang in it—even though I’ve never been much of a singer and can’t read music worth a lick.

Two more weddings in the next three years—two silver rings and still single and alone.

At twenty-five, having graduated and moved away for grad school, I returned home for another cousin’s wedding—a younger cousin’s wedding. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Not to me. I had two golden rings, after all. No, make that three.

The next year, ring numero quatro. I think at this point my aunts had conspired to make sure I pulled the golden ring. They also made sure to introduce me to every unmarried man between eighteen and eighty in attendance at the reception.

Fortunately, that was the year we ran out of female cousins old enough to get married. Not that I could stop going to family weddings—I had plenty of male cousins tying the knot. But, thank goodness, the ring-pull ceremony never made it into their receptions.

Then, the year I turned thirty-five, the thing I dreaded arrived in the mail. An invitation to another female cousin’s wedding. Not only that, but it was a destination wedding. The beach, the resort, the clubs, the outings. As a member of the wedding party, I was not only expected to attend, but to enjoy it. Or pretend like I enjoyed it. So I did. And, lo and behold, one of the groomsmen, close to my age, seemed to like me. Despite my superpower to intimidate and turn men off just by smiling at them. The problem: He had a girlfriend back home. Off and on, but still. The great news (for him, anyway): Spending the long weekend flirting with me made him decide he wanted to marry her.

And I went home with my fifth golden ring.

A month ago, I received an invitation to my youngest female cousin’s wedding. She’s getting married the day after my birthday. My fortieth birthday. This might be the first family wedding I’ll enjoy since I was seventeen years old.

  1. Wiser now permalink
    Friday, May 25, 2012 2:12 pm

    You are attractive, witty and a delight to be around. Makes you wonder if the man God chose for you was killed in a war or something. With that many rings that shouldn’t be a problem, evidently there are more that qualify. Keep circulating, go where the men are. Just be yourself. He is probably looking for you too. God bless.
    Nice tradition, good to put in a book.


  2. Friday, May 25, 2012 2:26 pm

    Wow. What a great story idea. I’m sold.


  3. Friday, May 25, 2012 2:54 pm

    I love it! You need to run with it.


    • Friday, May 25, 2012 3:04 pm

      I need to be finishing up second-round Genesis entries this afternoon so I can spend the rest of the weekend on revisions to Follow the Heart, but now all I can think about is what happens when she goes to this wedding. Which of course means character casting . . .


  4. Friday, May 25, 2012 3:04 pm

    I love the idea! Go for it, Kaye! Those creative juices are flowing again! Woo!


    • Friday, May 25, 2012 3:06 pm

      Of course, given the “five golden rings” reference, I’m thinking this may have to be a Christmas-themed story.


  5. Friday, May 25, 2012 3:06 pm

    Yes. I like it. 🙂 Love the humor of the last line. That made me totally like this woman.


    • Friday, May 25, 2012 3:11 pm

      Y’all know me—I don’t do the first-person thing. But that first paragraph just started running through my head in her voice, so I had to write it down that way. Coming home from work, I kept thinking I could use something like this as a prologue, then switch over into 3rd person for the rest of the story. I’m also thinking that this would be set in Bonneterre.


      • Carol permalink
        Monday, May 28, 2012 2:05 pm

        Awesome! I’ve been wanting to go back to Bonneterre.


  6. Friday, May 25, 2012 3:15 pm

    I just figured out the rest of the story. I knew the five rings had to have significance. After getting to the age of forty with no man doing so much as asking her out on a date (yes, that part is autobiographical), at/after this wedding, she meets FIVE men, all of whom she finds interesting, who start pursuing her. (One for each ring.)


  7. Pam K. permalink
    Friday, May 25, 2012 4:32 pm

    This sounds like the basis for a great story. I can feel the pain. I didn’t marry till in my early 30s, now at mid 50s, I’ve been divorced 5 years. I’m thankful I can READ about romance! I’m not really looking for someone for me but am praying for a godly man for my 22 year old daughter. I pray for a man who will be her best friend, devoted to her for the rest of their lives.


  8. Friday, May 25, 2012 5:43 pm

    I love this idea – especially if it’s set in Bonneterre.


  9. Lucy Morgan-Jones permalink
    Friday, May 25, 2012 6:24 pm

    Hi Kaye! GREAT story idea! My critique partner once said to me: ‘take your life story, make it worse and write that. Memoirs don’t sell, but that will’. This sounds great. Maybe your character could be 39 and have an internal deadline to marry before 40 because (insert some sort of family/personal consequence) and then meet x no of men who are interested (in different ways). Sounds an interesting premise. I’d read it! 🙂 It sounds the sort of story that would be fun to write and the words would flow, the best sort! All the best as you write for His Glory. Lucy.


  10. Friday, May 25, 2012 11:36 pm

    AWESOME story idea! I’d read that! This is a struggle I’m facing myself…. I’d love to see how the girl copes 🙂


  11. Sunday, May 27, 2012 2:47 am

    Totally off-topic… but have you seen


    • Sunday, May 27, 2012 10:11 pm

      Yes–a friend sent me the link a few days ago. But thanks for thinking of me!


  12. Sunday, May 27, 2012 10:11 pm

    I think I have my heroine:


  13. Caleb permalink
    Monday, May 28, 2012 2:21 pm

    I like the idea a lot. Is Five Golden Rings likely to be the name of the book? Have you considered setting the entirety of it in December and having more of a seasonal Love Actually type romance? I think if I picked up a book called Five Golden Rings and learned it didn’t take place over Christmas I’d feel deceived because I’m weird like that.


  14. Monday, May 28, 2012 9:27 pm

    Love the idea Kaye! Now, hurry up and finish your revisions so you can work on it!!! *cracking marathon whip….*


  15. Wednesday, May 30, 2012 10:50 am

    What an interesting tradition. Great story idea, Kaye. You can write this, I can see this one as a rom-com on screen.



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