I couldn't take my eyes of his hand.
I mean, I knew, but still ... it shocked me.
The first thing you notice about Dale is that he has Down Syndrome. Talk to him for just a second and suddenly what is obvious is no longer all that important. I hadn't seen him for awhile so when he came into the BCACL annual conference here in Prince George I called him over. He's great to chat with but man, oh man, did he have a lot to say.
But, no matter what he had to say, it was tough pulling my eyes away from his hand.
Have you ever got one of those Christmas letters that left you feeling entirely inadequate. Well, that's what I felt like when listening to what he'd been up to. He told me about the Alaskan cruise he'd been on. About becoming involved with the Canadian Down Syndrome society and travelling on business for them. About meeting a famous actress and being invited down to L.A. for a wee visit.
But did you see his hand?
Then he told me that he was learning to add humour to his talks and was going weekly to toastmasters to practice his timing. He said that he was in the middle of reading a book on public speaking that he was enjoying and that he recommended to me. This guy was one surprise after another. A vital young man with a passion for life and a passion for his cause. Awesome.
But his hand.
His left hand to be precise.
To be even more precise, the ring finger on his left hand.
There is a gold band around that finger.
I knew he was married and I asked him how long he'd been married. He told me that he was coming up on his 10th anniversary.
The gold band obviously meant something to him.
I realized as I was talking with him that I'd never seen a wedding ring on the hand of someone with Down Syndrome. I'd heard about them. Read about them. But it was all abstract. But there he was, Dale, talking to me with animation. His hand flying around as he described something. And when the light hit his ring it glinted gold.
We finished our chat and he headed off, as always with purpose in his step.
And a ring on his finger.
The dawn is come.