We like to read or hear that with which we agree. One of my favorite statements is the introduction to “Antiques Roadshow” on television: “It’s not about the things we have but the memories that we make with them.”
A person with a totally objective eye would see no value in much of the stuff that takes up space in my house. Memories that simple keepsakes stir can’t be seen but they fill my heart with joy and satisfaction.
The thin six-inch-long shotgun carved from a cedar stick is certainly not a work of art. When I was five years old, I was already nipping at my father’s heels everywhere he went. Mr. McCormick was our nearest neighbor, and once while the two of them talked about the crops, Mr. McCormick was whittling. As they ended their conversation, he gave me the gun. The fact that a busy grownup noticed little me with a gift made a tremendous impression about people and life. It still speaks volumes and values.
The cardboard shapes of a duck, rabbit and baby chick are yellow-stained from handling and time. I could make new ones, but they would not be the ones that my mother laid on the rolled cookie dough and cut around. She carefully placed the “animal” cookies on a well-used baking sheet to bake as a special treat for me. I can see me standing in one of the painted kitchen chairs watching in anticipation. This remembrance is but one example of her going beyond the necessary to express her love and caring every day.
Why would I keep that handful of shells and Spanish moss? The shells are small and quite ordinary, in fact. After our wedding day, we drove to the east coast. When I saw for the first time the mass of ocean that appeared to be rising up above me along the horizon, I could hardly take it in. I knew from books and radio that there were places far different from the landscape of south Logan County, but seeing brought a whole new dimension to my understanding. No way could I capture that feeling on the beach that day and bring it home to share, but I could scoop up from the place a few shells that would serve to bring the moment back to me.
Who would keep on the cabinet shelf a three-ounce plastic tumbler—discolored, misshapen, chewed around the top and split halfway down to the bottom. It was our firstborn’s drinking glass, the one she learned to hold and drink from by herself, her favorite for Kool-Aid served in the shade of the maple tree in the backyard. I see her independently climbing on a stool to fill it with water from the sink faucet and spilling it harmlessly down the front of her red jacket that was a bright tracking device that helped me to keep up with her whereabouts as she ran outside to go exploring in the fields.
I have considered throwing away the glass, several times, but just couldn’t do it. Now I use it to fill the steam iron, and if anyone should comment, I’m prepared to say that it pours so well into the water fill hole of the iron that I keep it handy for that purpose.
Around every home I suspect there is a cankered ring, threadbare teddy bear, ill-fitting shirt or something that at first glance would seem to have no value. I hope so.