Friday, January 7, 2011

The Golden Case

The small gold case sits empty. It means little to anyone else yet since my earliest days memory the gold case caught and held my attention.

The little box is no more than two inches long and less than one-third inch high. The lid pulls open on tiny hinges to reveal two empty compartments. I know from memory that one side held a small velvet pad that was held in place by a small springy lyre. The other side held my mother's red rouge. Vaguely I remember her using the small compact. I remember most the woman in the mirror.

A tiny trace of red still clings to the corner of the case. The case is embossed with fragile designs, a case that most certainly would draw the attention of a small girl. When mother wasn't around, I would sometimes look in the center drawer of the vanity just to see the small box. Had it been embedded with jewels it could been no finer treasure.

I now have the small case. It sits with other treasures on my dresser. Sometimes I pick it up turning it over in my hands still the little girl in awe of the lovely box. We never know what treasures we hold before those we love. The treasure might even take the form of a small box. The treasure might be the memory of a daughter watching her mother do something she rarely did, dressing up to go out.

The beauty of the woman did not come from the case. It was in the woman looking into the mirror. A woman I did not know well for she was an adult, and I was a child. I learned that a woman could sweat through the toil she did on the farm; she could kill the chickens, mop up after ill children and still take pride in herself. She had so little for herself. No doubt the gold case was a precious to her.

A small container of rouge would last her life time. The small, golden case will be handed down through generations. So,too, will the story of the beautiful woman in the mirror.

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