We have lovely things given us over the years by family members. As look around there is art, most done by my father after he took it up at age 80. There is food, travel, Italy and Greece, photography (mine and others). There are flowers. Historic quilts, paintings and memories hang on our walls. And writing doesn’t fit but I’m doing it now.
On a tree or wreath each holiday season I try to capture where we are, and were, at the time. There are hand-made paper ornaments from a theater event I envisioned and executed years ago, a few from my parents who made this a tradition. I try to get us two ornaments for each year in the spirit of what we have experienced. Living in Scotland, the mountains or lakes.
The big things like Italian Majolica serving platters from Dad for our wedding, or my mother’s china service for ten, become smaller when one thinks of the bigger things.
Dad got me a Hi, Dee, drawing of a chef and signature from Andre Soltner. He’s a pre-eminent chef, owner of Lutece in NYC. Dad sent me pashmina scarves and an evil eye bracelet from Turkey, candles from the Netherlands, and a replica of a Medici necklace, not to mention two Ferragamo scarves I’ve yet to find. One was really cool, tied one couldn’t tell what it was, looked like chrysanthemums. Opened, it was a dog. He knew me so well.
My aunts taught me how to cook, entertain, and clean up after myself. While visiting, as my husband is tall and big, he brushed by a wall upstairs and knocked off and broke a cherished piece. They sent it to us, glued back together, a while later. They have taken us on adventures, actual and literary, to last a lifetime and have always been kind. If I’ve young visitors I’ll need to get a copy of the OED and place it on top of the loo. Said child will need to open the dictionary, find a word he or she does not know. Then go out to the living room and spell it, say whether it is is a noun, verb or adjective, and use it in a sentence. Those attributes and their letting me correct their English exams (only multiple choice with a guide and a red pen) but I read them, Romeo and Juliet…. made me smarter.
My husband’s family, as I now have no parents, have given me the greatest gift of being my family. They have given me perspective (The War of Northern Aggression), conversation, a delightful cook-mate in my mother-in-law, entertainment, adventure (wild hogs, not motorcycles), and much love. First night there meeting the parents my father-in-law met us at the airport with two dozen roses. M gave me a small picture frame into which I placed our favorite wedding photo.
We have her quilts, my husband’s baby book to look through and frame. I must thank them for a really big gift, my husband. Together over fifteen years, married and we’ve a dog to prove it. Dear old Zoe. Now that’s a gift from the local shelter we gave ourselves. It took a lot of work (me) but she’s a great old dog.
Zoe gives us gifts every day. I’m not talking about the outside ones. The ones that line your heart with love and joy. She is kind and everyone knows her, she’s a mascot around here. With all the things I do, everyone remembers Zoe and calls out for her. If we can pick and train a dog like her for us, that’s a life challenge and it’s OK with me. Dee