In the end, it was the little things…
When Mom died just a year after Dad, we five children were left to settle the “estate”. There wasn’t much to it, just a small retirement home, a ten year old car, and a lifetime collection of furniture, furnishings, and photographs. I guess we all knew it wouldn’t be easy. When did five siblings ever agree on anything, much less everything? Well, we did real well with the big stuff. What to do with the house, the car, the color T.V., the antique dishes and the riding lawn mower. We could all agree on those things. It was the little things…
Three of us, in one voice saying, “I’d like to have that.”, to the old ice cream scoop. The one Dad always used on Sunday night just as “Lassie” was coming on. There were other ice cream scoops in the drawer, enough for everyone. But we all remembered the time Dad used one of those “new fangdangled scoops”, threw it in the sink, and bellowed, “Now, somebody get me the REAL scoop!”. Who gets to keep the REAL scoop?
Or, who would keep Mom’s rolling pin? The one she made a million pies with. The best pies ever baked, too. Even that first pie that, as a new bride she proudly tried to present to her husband, only to trip and dump it in his lap. How many times did her hands roll and work that wooden pin? The same hands that felt so good on your forehead when you had a fever. The hands that just the other day, gnarled from hard work, aged and worn, could still pat you on the back and give you a glow that would last all day. Who would take that rolling pin home?
And what about the cookie jar? The same one for fifty years and fifty thousand cookies. How many times did we each reach into that jar after school? And how many nights did Mom stay up late baking so it wouldn’t be empty the next day when we got home and she was still at work? How many “black bottom cookies” did it hold as we girls learned to cook? It’s just a cookie jar, right?
What about that little rocking chair? The one Dad brought home when the first grandbaby arrived. The one he rocked each of those fifteen babies in at one time or another, to let their mothers have a little rest. It’s just a wobbly, cheap old chair. Who’ll take that?
The old afgan blanket is getting tattered and worn. Grandma made it thirty five years ago, and nearly every day since then it has snuggled someone on the floor in front of the T.V., or sprawled on the sofa, or warmed body and soul recovering from the flu, a broken heart, or whatever. Does anyone care who takes that ragged blanket?
The little things. The daily living things, full of memories, valueless, invaluable pieces of our lives. The treasures we gather up to try to hold on to a part of who we were. Who we are.
You can inherit the house, the car, and the color T.V. I really want that rolling pin.