Some girls really like diamonds. Me, every time I think of diamonds, I think of sitting in my father's shop, doors open and humid summer air moving through, having swept up all the welding slag, cleaned the stray pieces of metal out from under the 20-ton punch press, and finished a box of small assembly parts. As the shop cat slept on top of the air compressor, completely oblivious to the racket (and amazingly not deaf), Dad would show me different tools and explain their use - like when I was finally big enough to learn to use the cutting torch. At one point, shortly after I'd gotten big enough to use the spot welder, he was going through a box of drill bits, and showed me what a diamond drill bit looked like.
I looked at the bits on the end, and said, "Those are diamonds like on mom's ring?"
"Yes. When not in jewelry, diamonds are five bucks a pound." Dad smiled down at me, and I smiled up at him.
Ever since then, no matter how flashy and sparkly the glitter, the first thing that leaps to my mind and tongue when I see diamonds is "Five bucks a pound!" So, ah, I'm not really a diamond girl, unless I really need a darned good drill bit.
Years later, a man broached the subject of jewelery of specific intent with me. I informed him that I didn't really care for jewelry, am quite hard on it, and tend to lose it - and whatever it is, it shouldn't be a diamond. He instead offered first a handcrafted ring with an odd and lovely stone. Then, he offered something that, with care and lack of ground-looping, should last longer than either of us - sixteen feet of the finest crafted Sitka Spruce, crafted into two spars.
It may not impress the ladies that determine social standing by the size of your left-hand rock, but it will hold our lives, and give us wings to fly. It lets me stop biding my time, staring skyward and saving pennies ferociously between the medical bills, and move forward into action, into getting things done, wings built, healing and returning to where my soul sings in joy. He has given me the keys to flight, hope held golden and glowing in my hand, smelling of fresh varnish drilled and laminated to standards drawn up in 1940.
Soon, we shall be together, doors open to let the warm summer air move through, having measured and counted, attached golden cadmium-washed hardware and deep green zinc chromate primed compression struts and ribs, jury and strut attach brackets, and finally be be ready, after trammeling, to tap brass nails to ribs and spars and have the skeleton of my beloved bird ready to accept her skin, her broken wings made whole again. That is my jewelry, beautiful and hand-crafted together with love and laughter and dreams worked in.