the simple minded suburbanite

Great Aunt Angie’s Napkin Rings
March 19, 2010, 2:40 pm
Filed under: authenticity, suburban, voluntary simplicity | Tags: , , ,

Not three feet inside the door of an antique/junk shop my mom will predictably exclaim…”Great Aunt Angie had the same (fill in the blank: napkin rings, bar soap holder, cigarette lighter)!”  Every few steps or so, it will be Grandma Lu’s glass chicken cream and sugar or Aunt Nan’s ceramic strawberry cookie jar.

I had a lovely day last week with my mom and sister-in-law.  A day we hadn’t had in a long time.  A day that comes far too infrequently.  We strolled around a little, southern historic town and window shopped and lunched.  And we laughed about one of the last times we did this kind of thing when my mom started into her, “Great Aunt Minnow had…” and I stopped and laughed and said, “If I have to hear about June’s dinner buffet doillies throughout the whole store, again, we’re going to Nordstroms!”

A little mean, but it was kinda funny, especially if you know my mother. It’s the writer in me, picking up patterns and behaviors, both good and bad or neither, and saying or writing what others around are thinking but maybe even unaware they are thinking them.

The fact is, if we went to Nordstroms or any other kind of store, especially the cute little home boutiques like the ones we shopped in on our lovely day, my mother would say her OTHER favorite thing to say, “How much?  Oh my God!  We can MAKE THAT!”  Yes, I nod my head but have been known to retort, “but we never do.”

At least I never do.  Anymore.

And I thought about this on our lovely day of lunch and window shopping as I tucked the little brown bag I had containing a gorgeous gold chain bearing a beautiful gold tassle necklace I bought for only 5 smackers into my purse.  ( Such satisfaction I had when a friend who wears the $700 boots nearly snatched the necklace from my throat when I wore it to her birthday party.  “I have to borrow it!” she exclaimed.  Her mouth dropped wider when I told her where I got it and how much I paid.)

Any way, as I was saying, I thought of my mom’s two little mantras that she always says when we go shopping: “We can make that.” and “Remember Grandma Lou’s…”  And they are actuallly wonderful little mantras.  They are sweet little rememberances and really what our spending time together is supposed to be all about.

It’s supposed to be about remembering that we are family and calling forth the bonds we share.  Remembering where we came from, even if I can’t remember a set of salt and pepper shakers.  It’s thinking about the imprint others have left on us, our hearts, and our minds.  And thinking, too, about what sort of legacy, details, and imprints we will leave for those little ones now at our feet when they are older with their own little ones, and we are gone.

And families are supposed to call forth all that is good and true in you.  Help you remember God-given gifts that perhaps you have buried.  Inspire you to reach deep within and see yourself as capable and good, as your family members do.  In my case, remember my creativity.  Remember the pure pleasure in simple acts of creation.  Remember that, I too, can make that.

I’ve had a very hard year with my family and anticipate more tough times.  Ive had a hard time seeing much beauty in certain family members and feel more drained by them than embraced by them.  But I’m trying.  I know it’s still there.  Through sweet sunny days of browsing and chatting and ooing and ahhing over trinkets and dust-covered knick-knacks perhaps I’ll come to rediscover their precious legacies and the glorious little talents that make them a family that I love. 

And, in the process, maybe I’ll rediscover mine.

Later last week, I went to a bead shop just a couple of miles from my home.  A shop I’d never been in before and bought supplies and actually made a replica of a necklace I had seen in a shop on our trip.  So satisfying.  So, yes, sometimes I do make it. And sometimes I do think of my mom, my aunts, and grandmas and all of the ladies who came before me and their talents especially of making something out of seemingly nothing.

What do you think about when you go toodling around a junk shop?  And what are your thoughts calling you to do?


1 Comment so far
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Oh, I love this. Very Simple Abundance (like the book). When I am forced to go to the hobby stores, I always feel those little callings. (Come! Create! Just for fun!) I love the connection you make between those inklings and the legacy we’ll leave our kiddos. Have to ponder that.

Comment by el-e-e

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