I was lying in bed awake this morning, waiting for Sweetheart to wake up.
I gazed at the little ledge above the closet that holds mementos that have been given to me by loved ones.
On either end are small, white ceramic busts of Jesus and Mary. My older son gave them to me for Christmas one year, soon after he got out of the Navy. He asked me if there was anything in particular that I wanted, so I told him about the ceramic nativity set I had seen displayed in the window of the local sub shop.
When I opened the package on Christmas morning, he explained that the nativity set was no longer there, so he got these instead. I told him they were beautiful and gave him a hug.
Next to Jesus is a small, stuffed hippopotamus that my granddaughter bought at Santa’s workshop when she was in fourth grade. We decided to call it Hippy Hippo, but I have since changed its name to Happy Hippo because it has a smile sewn into its face.
To the right is a plastic decorative plate standing upright in its base. On it is written the blessing from Numbers 6:24-26:
“The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace “
My younger son gave it to me one day when I was visiting him in his bachelor's apartment. He took it off of his shelf and said it didn’t go with his decor. His decor was 20th Century mess.
The next item is a piece of coral I got from a vendor in Hawaii when Sweetheart and I were on our honeymoon. The vendor gave it to me, though, because he said he didn’t believe in selling what Nature had produced.
Beside it is a small cast iron statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that my brother gave me one day as we were walking through his house. Even though he cherished it, he knew he was approaching the end of his days on earth and he wanted me to have it.
The small candle ring is another gift from my older son. We were at a local benefit dinner one night and he won it as a door prize. He said he had no use for it, so he gave it to me. I use it to bring forth memories of him and his generosity.
In the middle is another, larger, cast iron statue of Mary. It is shiny silver, with gold highlights and she holds Baby Jesus. Father Mark gave it to me for Christmas as a thank-you for the work I did for the church.
There is a pair of blue ceramic boots that once held tea light candles, but have been burned to the socket. They were given to me by the singles group I once belonged to. I was “booted out,” because I married Sweetheart. It was worth it.
A small porcelain duck sports a raffia scarf. A friend gave it to me for no particular reason. There were three of us women who took religious education classes together at a site out of town. We carpooled to our destination and had supper before going to class. She has passed away, but her memory lives on.
I made a mental trip through the house, looking at all of the pictures that were hanging there. I didn’t buy a single one. They are all mementos: of my daughter, daughter-in-law, friends, neighbors, and relatives.
When Sweetheart and I were on a cruise once, an art auction was going on. People were bidding big bucks for paintings by people they didn’t even know.
Those paintings may be expensive, but my remembrances are priceless.
Dorothy is the author of two books—“Miles and Miracles” and “Getting It All Together “. You can purchase a book or make a comment by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.