Accept this Simple Toad

I love P.G. Wodehouse. One winter — 1981/82 — I went through all his novels and short stories like a starving person on a desert island. Later that same year, I ended up getting married to my second husband. It wasn’t meant to be a serious marriage. It was supposed to last a year and allow him to go with me to China. I took everything lightheartedly, flippantly, even, and P.G. Wodehouse influenced the design of my wedding ring.

In one of the stories, the protagonist — we’ll call him Bertie, but he wasn’t Bertie — and his best friend — go out drinking because the friend has a broken heart. At the end of the evening, they end up several sheets to the wind. They say their goodbyes and go their separate ways. In the wee hours of the morning, Bertie falls into a pond. He manages to haul himself out and he staggers home, soaking wet, covered with weeds.

As the friend staggers home, he meets his girlfriend coming out of a cab. They make up, and set a date for their wedding.

As fate (and P. G. Wodehouse) would have it, the two friends run into each other. Bertie hears all the good news but finds it difficult to care. He’s cold, wet and drunk, but he still realizes this is an important moment in the life of his friend. He decides (in his inebriated state) to give his friend something to mark the happy moment. He fishes (haha) around in his pocket and finds a toad. He hands it to his friend saying, “Please, accept this simple toad as a symbol of my feelings on this special moment.”

I wanted that to be my wedding vow. I wanted my new husband to say, “Please, accept this simple toad…” It didn’t happen that way.

The ring is my design. It’s sterling with a toad carved onto it. Its eye was a tiny emerald that fell out when I was trying to help some people push their camper out of deep sand in the Anza Borrego Desert.


The marriage didn’t work out and, sadly, was not the hilarious, flippant, short-term affair I’d dreamed of. I’ve learned over the years that people don’t take my sense of humor seriously.

17 thoughts on “Accept this Simple Toad

    • Interesting. I never know how some of my stories will come across to readers — the marriage was tedious beyond expression, I’m afraid. The wedding was the high point.

  1. But it is an original ring, I like it. I broke my arm on Tower Bridge and you pulled a camper out of the desert. They are the interesting parts of life.

    • We tried with the camper — me, my Aunt Martha and Jim. I think we really did get them loose, but it was absurd and incredibly heavy. I think what happened was the moral support helped the driver calm down and quit spinning his wheels.

  2. Marriage is rarely the light-hearted flippant “pretend” experience one might hope for. Something about those vows make it more serious than it is supposed to be.

    • That marriage was not supposed to last past a year. It didn’t, in many important ways, but it took me 12 years to realize the guy didn’t really like me. Family affects our choices and my mom liked him a lot. It’s “normal” to be married, too, and I was in my 30s and trying really hard to succeed in everything I undertook, the usual scourge of the 30s. What a waste of time.

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