Irish Gumbo in which he describes the mementos of the past that were a reminder of the love that built him. It made me reflect on what kinds of mementos I have that speak to me of love.
The house is filled with all kinds of "treasures". One person described it as a museum to my past. And in many ways, that is true. In every room, there is the furniture that was passed down from one generation to the next. There is china and silver which were used by several generations. I sometimes imagine the food that these objects held and what the conversation was around the table.
One of my favorite pieces of furniture is the Hepplewhite table that my father built. Another is the old Hepplewhite dining table that dates back over 200 years and was used by me when I was drawing and painting. My mother would spread out newspapers over it, and I was allowed to take my art lessons there. And then there is the old cherry tester bed which was on a schooner and was the bed that I slept in as a child. All are reminders of the hands that built, polished, rubbed, and used the pieces. How many meals were eaten at the tables? Who made love in the bed?
And then there are the many small pieces of the past that are part of this house. As I was walking past an old pie safe this morning, I saw the fish scaler that my father used. He would stand at the fish cleaning table and scrape the scales off the fish before he gutted them. I would stand by his side, fascinated even then by the iridescent light of these scales as they flew off the fish.
Next to the fish scaler is a tobacco plug cutter, a sausage stuffer, and an old block used to hoist up hogs for killing. These are some mementos of my father's life on the farm. Some of my mother's mementos are pressed ferns, tree leaves, and flowers from her botanical studies; starfish and shells that she collected and carefully labeled; her journals, photo albums, old letters and postcards written in her lovely cursive. The house is filled with other paintings, photos, and artifacts of the family. And each one is a reminder for me.
These are the things that remind me not only of the love that shaped me but of the love that shaped my forebears. They may be just old things to many people, but to me they speak in whispers of my connectedness, my self, my past, and now my present.