Memories are a big part of holidays for me. In preparation for Thanksgiving, my youngest child removed my mother’s flatware from the storage box and washed it for the holiday meal.
There is a specific ritual used to clean the spoons and forks and knives. They must be washed by hand in warm soapy water, rinsed in clear water, and each piece must be carefully dried with a clean hand towel. OK it’s not much of a ritual. But extra care is taken cleaning the silverware because it was important to my mother. In fact, for many years, she didn’t let anyone else clean it.
My mother grew up in a large family on a small farm during the Depression. They didn’t have much. When she married my father, they still didn’t have much. When my brother and I came along, we didn’t have much either, although I wasn’t keenly aware of this until I went off to college and met people who had…. a lot! I didn’t think much about our simple life, because our basic needs were met. And we were surrounded by people who were in similar situations. Yes, there were people in the neighborhood who had more than we did but “More” had a different meaning. I didn’t grow up deprived…. I took piano lessons, swimming lessons, I had my own bike. But we were always aware of what we could and could not afford and lived accordingly.
The careful handling of my mother’s silverware reflects the basic understanding of taking care of what we have and making it last. My mother’s silverware was not real silver. It was not expensive. In fact, she paid very little for it. She collected it over several years by saving Betty Crocker coupons from products she purchased at the grocery store. She bought it piece by piece using the coupons and a little bit of money. And she took care of it. Washing it carefully, only using it for holidays, keeping it safely stored away when not in use. Each piece is as shiny today as it was when it arrived in the mail over fifty years ago.
Every holiday I think of Mom and her silverware. I continue to cherish it and take care of it, just like she did.
credit: Sandra Crook
It was a decoy.
The tree. Because it commanded your attention. A huge tree damaged by Mother Nature.
“Wow… Look at that tree!” people would say as they passed by, not noticing the obvious.
The stone wall was a decoy, too. It was old and obviously constructed by someone who knew stone walls.
Together, the tree and the wall were a beautiful focal point… a landmark in the small town. Every one from miles around knew this tree and this wall…. it had been here longer than anyone still alive.
No one ever suspected the horrible things hidden there.
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J Hardy Carroll
“Someone’s coming up the front driveway,” whispered Kathy to Wayne.
Jack was in the basement where he kept cool on hot days. As usual, he would be no help.
Cell phones didn’t work inside their cement and rusted metal fortress. No way to summon help.
And that window that was so rusted it wouldn’t close anymore; it could be pried open.
“Just wait,” replied Wayne. “No one could believe anyone actually lives here.”
She gave him “the look” and sat down at her computer, thinking she would send an email to her friend, Sandy, just in case something went wrong.
photo credit to Sarah Potter
The shoes were a bargain.
I know because she only ever bought from the discounted, discontinued, clearance area. She spent little on herself. We dressed in hand-me-downs from cousins. We made our own soap, ketchup, applesauce… always had a garden. Never had a credit card. Paid off debts quickly. Always had money in a savings account.
The only splurge I can remember was having her hair done each week, and that was after she got a job in a local factory.
In later years, when she could afford better, she still bought from the bargain rack.
Jen latched the suitcase, and took one last long look around. Many times she had tried to leave, but something held her there. He promised he would return. I promised I would wait. Eight years was a long time. She hadn’t heard from Cody for a long time. She could wait no longer.
Cody trudged up the long path. Will she even be here? If she is, how can I ever make her understand all the things that prevented my return? He had nothing to show for the past eight years.
Jen opened the door.
She dropped her suitcase.
photo credit to Danny Bowman
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The blast mark in the wall looked like an evil face. And that’s what this place felt like….. evil.
It had once been a beautiful place of worship. Calm, serene, giving one a sense of peace and safety.
But now, even with the overgrown vines and small trees sprouting their spring greenery, it still felt like something horrible had happened here.
The small group of children looked up from the courtyard, wondering what could have possibly taken place here.
They jumped as a voice from behind the wall sternly warned them to keep away.
“Begone! Run to safety!”
photo credit Roger Bulltot