Treasure trove a tribute to kindnesses, special memories | Rural Life |

2022-07-21 12:41:05 By : Ms. Tina Liu

There are mysteries on the shelves in my home office. They aren’t mysteries to me, of course, but they will be to whoever has the unenviable task of packing up after my demise.

Without knowing the stories behind these mysterious items, they don’t make sense. A can of Chicken a’ la King amongst a variety of pens. A statue of an Angel holding a tiny baby. A ghost made with tissue paper and sporting black magic marker eyes and smile.

There’s also a partial container of ArmorAll car wipes on my shelves too, near a chipped inkwell and a glass pen with gold flecks in the stem. There is a glass picture of an old typewriter embedded with an original poem. There is a blue long-stemmed glass rose that is really more about wet socks than horticulture. And of course, there is an unopened can of creamed corn. Who doesn’t have one of those on their office shelf?

If those items aren’t interesting enough, there is a small dish of stones – cool and smooth. And candles of various shapes and sentiments. There is a bottle of Sprite soda, so old that its sides are sucked in and even though unopened, has partially evaporated over the decades. A cup with Roy Roger’s face looks down at me from a top shelf and a one-of-a-kind cup with monster teeth and lips protruding from the side, keeps him company. There are homemade color crayons, an alligator lighter, an engraved business card holder and when you take time to think about it, who should be surprised to find a tiny, stuffed bird?

Some other items have been retired, moved on, given away, and sadly, but necessarily, thrown. But the ones that remain carry with them deeply personal stories. Many from moments of connection that were like divine interruptions in what has otherwise been an ordinary life.

The glass rose? A former student who had holes in his shoes. Holes that sucked in water and snow when he walked to school. Pairs of dry socks kept in my desk drawer were his for the taking. No questions asked. No returns necessary (or wanted). One day, after he graduated and his feet were dry for an extended period of time, he left the glass rose and a note on my desk that was worth more than controlling shares in an entire footwear industry.

The Chicken a’ la King? From a dear friend who fell under the dark spell of Alzheimer’s, but never lost her giving spirit. The Chicken a’ la King was her last Christmas present to me and part of our last conversation.

The statue of the mother and baby? A gift from a stranger. A young mother who had been in a store buying all the supplies she needed for her newborn, but her check for the items would not clear the cash register. There was a tearful conversation with the sales clerk and people around her pretended not to notice. I went to my car with my package, but found myself back in the store in time to hear a baby crying in that desperate newborn way. A simple thing like my credit card was all that was needed. The young mother wrote a check to me instead and, of course, it cleared. The statue came to me in the mail and serves as a reminder of the fragility of young mothers and their babies.

The tiny stuffed bird? The cup with protruding lips on the side? The half of a container of AmorAll? The bottle of Sprite soda, unopened and sucked in at the sides? All stories for another day. Stories that are reminders that we are here to help each other, laugh with each other, and enjoy this gift of life.

To my children, however, when they have to clean these shelves after my death, they will probably throw their hands in the air in exasperation and say, “Mom was a crazy hoarder. This makes no sense at all!”

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Doreen Rosevold is a humorist/columnist from Mayville, ND.

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Editor’s note: Please enjoy this Dr. Rosmann column from 2015.

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