Up from the Dustbowl

I was looking through boxes of holiday decorations yesterday, trying to find some of my dozens of brightly colorful Easter eggs stored out in the garage. The realization hit me that I have way too many Christmas decorations in storage. Actually way too many boxes of stuff period. But my pre-Easter egg hunt led me to a fascinating discovery hidden there amidst my own stuff. There in an unlabeled box, looking exactly like all the other boxes of stored items, were books and mementos and trinkets from my twenties. It was more than a little overwhelming to come upon this unlabeled time capsule in a stack in the garage.

The real treasure though was a deeply pink colored box held closed by an old stretched out rubber band. It contained several of Grandma Cary’s costume jewelry pieces that she proudly wore to weddings and funerals, or when she’d dress up in a formal gown for an Eastern Star meeting. Then later, after grandpa had passed on, she’d get decked out in her costume jewelry for the weekly dance at the senior center. One of Grandpa’s bolo ties was in there too so I put it around my neck and wore it for the rest of the day to the post office and while doing some weekend gardening. I love old things that remind me of the people who once enjoyed them.

What an unexpected joy to find gold when I’d set out to find brightly colored plastic. The “gold” I found was in reality only brightly colored glass itself. But what it will always represent to me is a life well lived; the life of a hard-working florist, seamstress, cook, and a patient teacher of a granddaughter who was eager to learn all this from an everyday lady. Once a young farmwife who left the dust bowl of Kansas for a better life in California.

Real treasures are the things and the people we value whether humble or grand. Grandma would add, “and don’t you forget it.”