Thursday, October 28, 2021

Happily Ever After


I’m saying I may have heard the term many years ago, maybe in a fairy tale told to me or something I read to my own now all-grown-up kids. I do remember one or two ancient tales ending in… “And they lived happily ever after.

That was then, about a third of a century ago and now I’m reading tales to my grandchildren, Oh my! So what exactly is living happily ever after in the new millennium? Especially now, in this the year 2019. Personally I can’t see myself holding hands with my beloved wife skipping merrily down by the seashore and if I did see someone doing just that I’m sure the guys with nets and white jackets aren’t far behind. For me, happily ever after would be a nice drama-less and profitable year (Ok, maybe a month. Heck, I’d settle for even a week). Hey, if H.E.A. even existed I’d be in Nirvana where I could be working on pieces of jewelry that I’d get extreme pleasure and enjoyment working on. Instead, my reality is patching together jewelry basket cases, or making the ring I just sold fit Mrs. Cochlin’s arthritic knuckles only after explaining to someone for an hour that you can’t make a bangle bracelet out of grandma’s engagement ring and next I’m trying to breathe life into a corroded fifty-year-old $12.00 Timex watch while the guy mourns the loss. Not exactly Nirvana is it?

Maybe deep down I’m afraid there is no happily ever after in my forecast, I’ll settle for just comfortably numb for now.

As I mentioned in a past article my “Golden Years” were in the 1970’s when the price of gold was not out of bounds and even a two carat diamond was affordable to many (and so was a two bedroom home on Marco as a matter of fact). Those were the days; people would be three to four deep at the showcases during the months of November and December. Not so anymore, Amazon now delivering on Sundays could have something to do with that. They call it progress.

I have had the pleasure of hearing good and exciting news, when asking clients the cliché question, “How’s everything going?” and I realize that a good percentage of the population isn’t as miserable as they seem to be. Yes, we all have bad days and even years, most of us in our middle to late sixties can attest to that, but you know something we all get through it, and the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always an oncoming train. Here’s something you won’t find in my grandkids’ storybooks, “Eventually the sun shines even on a dog’s butt!”, words of encouraging wisdom from my Dad.

Happily ever after may be a thing of the past, at least from my point of view as a jeweler; many of us (jewelers) see and hear more things we must hold close to the vest. You never ask Mrs. So & So “Did you love that new diamond pendant your husband picked out for you?” That simple statement could result in a subpoena to appear in court for an ugly divorce hearing. So much for a happy ending!

H.E.A. is a joke for the Millennials; apparently in many cases “Love you forever” when engraved in a wedding bands (that is if they actually purchase two bands, sometimes mommy buys them for him) only seems to last six months or so then they make a futile attempt to return the rings, along with the toaster, stainless steel place settings from Costco for a full refund when the honeymoon is over.

Maybe deep down I’m afraid there is no happily ever after in my forecast, I’ll settle for just comfortably numb for now.

On a good note… Nowadays in the shop I worry that things are going too well. I guess that’s my idea of being happy, so I’m half way there. The forever after thing will probably come in its own time I suppose. One thing I have noticed these past few months is that some really nice folks have been wandering in laughing and commenting on my column actually buying something and thanking me for not completely retiring yet and have become terrific return customers. The really undesirable ones seem to be at last far and few between. I guess 25 years of my not so subtle hints finally sunk in, either that they may have moved on off the island or had a house fall on them. I’m kidding… Wasn’t that in a fairy tale?

Richard Alan is a designer/master goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith of Marco Island at the Island Plaza and welcomes your comments about all that glitters or the meaning of life. Call 239-394-9275 or visit

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