Monday, November 30, 2009

I Am a Gift

She sits on the chest, hair pulled up high on her head and metal earrings in dangling at the sides of her face on tiny earlobes. Her mahogany face never smiles. She is beautiful.

In dividing up the things at the farm, we girls seemed drawn to different items. Once in awhile we couldn't find some item that we had grown up with deciding that Mom had given it to someone along the way. The mirrored back to the sideboard in the basement was missing. Mother had at one time used it at a shelf. Where was it now?

Once in awhile we would debate the origin of items that had not accompanied us through our years on the farm. One such item was a picture of natives on boats that mother had hanging in the bathroom. It was in a beige, pressed board frame, circa 1960. I brought the painting back home taking it to be cleaned and framed. A beautiful picture appeared now hanging in my living room. The source of the painting? We don't know.

Another such item was this beautiful bust of a native woman. My sisters shook their heads when I asked to keep it. I have a passion for dolls of different colors, and I could not stand to think her going to a home where her roots were not known. Okay, I know that I didn't know either, but she had meant something to Mother or she wouldn't be on her bookshelf.

I unpacked the items from Ohio when they finally arrived in Oregon. My children saw the bust and they, too, shook their heads. I'm good for lots of head shaking.

This lovely, nameless woman resides with me. The little girls shake their heads and say, "Oh, Grammy." I would like to tell them her history but can only tell them that she means a great deal to me, she belonged to my mother. She was carved by someone in another part of the world, and she is in my care.

I don't know where these items originated, but they came to my parents who held on to them for the memory of the giver. I hold on to them for the memory of my parents and for the carver who took a piece of wood creating a beautiful woman and the artist who picked up a paint brush creating the art on my wall.

She sits idly gathering dust sometimes and at other times looking up at me as I ask once more, "Who were you." A silent reply comes to me, "I am a gift."

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