Yesterday I picked up my newly updated pair of gradient lenses.
If you are a young person, you may not have experienced the joy of transitioning from fairly normal vision to needing bifocals to then progressing to the Alice in Wonderland world of having to move your head in fifteen different positions every 30 seconds so you can see the tiny bit of the universe you need to focus on to navigate through your day.
It is as nightmarish as it sounds.
Because I have the additional blessing of a funky kind of astigmatism, I was told to wear these for a week or two all the time.
I must confess, last night as I tried to wash dishes and the counter on which I was placing them seemed to be pitched uphill at a rather precarious angle, I removed them.
Sitting here typing with my head tilted back at a degree to which I am sure will require chiropractic care. I can say with assurance; getting older is as full of unpleasant surprises as it is unavoidable.
On occasion I like to think back to family members, teachers and other influential people in my past and ponder the age they were when I thought of them as so very old.
Turns out they were my current age and often younger.
So today I share with you some of the oldest ornaments on our tree.
They hung on my grandma’s tree – my mom’s mom – and I loved them as a child. Little fingers did not dare to touch them and so I would stare into the branches and at some point after my grandma passed, my sweet aunt boxed up a few of them and gift to me.
I would hang them on our trees until we had little ones because somehow I didn’t inherit whatever it was about my grandma that made sure a child did not touch fragile things.
This one is my absolute favorite…
For years I have looked in the shoebox that holds them wrapped in the brittle brown paper. Gingerly, I would undo them to marvel over each one before stashing them away.
Better they are safe and sound, I thought.
Until this year.
I want to enjoy them.
What on earth am I saving them for anyway?
I want our grandchildren to be familiar with them and I hope they think they are as marvelous as I did as a child.
So I decided to give them a special tree just for themselves.
I went to Michaels and found this little guy and purchased a few new fangled mercury glass balls to fill in.
Those little balls even have their own miniature boxes to store in! sigh…those may have been my moms…not sure, but still…very old.
These baubles call back to the days when we hung strands of tinsel on branches. Lights were the big kind with heavy strands of electric and strong bulbs. when one of those burned out you didn’t lose the whole thing…just buy a new bulb and you are back in business.
I remember how we dressed up fancy to stand in front of the tree for a picture. Christmas morning snapshots are in black and white, but the fun shines right on through.
These ornaments remind me of the tiny two bedroom house on South Second Street in Louisville where now the interstate has cut through what was the quiet neighborhood.
I can smell the dry attic and the damp basement and the heavy perfume of rose shaped soaps in a bowl in a pink and black bathroom.
I told you before my maiden aunt lived there with my grandma and took care of her and it was the only house I knew with a chair by the phone in little corner of the hallway.
My grandma would sit there and visit with her friends, catching up on the news of the day.
The kitchen was so small you could only have one cook at the stove and if you opened the enamel table enough too seat more than two you had to close it back up to let people out.
Family meals were eaten in the small dining room surrounded by enough cabinets and a hutch to hold copious amounts of china sets, ornate tea cups and all the shiny things my aunt loved so much.
If you are curious, quite a bit of it is now in our basement…I did carry that love-of-pretty-things gene into my adult life.
For as small as the kitchen was, the meals that got spread out for us were five star. My grandma was a fabulous cook and could put out a feast with all the extras whether it was a Saturday night chili supper or a Sunday fried chicken and roast beef extravaganza.
Everything had to be hand washed, and that fell on my aunt and another person who could squeeze into the area in front of the sink with her.
I opted in as often as I could. I loved drying dishes and listening to her chatter.
When all the tasks were done, we would gather in the living room where my dad was most likely already sound asleep in one chair, grandma was sitting in her spot and we would sit on the scratchy couch with the doilies across the back or the floor.
Conversation, games, and looking through the scrapbooks of photos or cartoons clipped from the funny papers were how we passed the time.
I miss it.
I miss all of it.
I miss hearing them tell the same stories and my dad’s snoring and even the scrapes that darn sofa fabric left on my skinny bare legs.
Sometimes I wonder what our grandchildren will remember. I wonder how they will describe us and time spent with us.
I wonder if some will love the same things we love and if they will ponder what age we were at certain stages of their own lives and realize they are now in the same season.
I wonder if it will make them smile and feel closer to us and I wonder if they will understand us a little better and wish they had known us from the perspective of being older.
I know I do …
Enjoy your people. Share your stories with them. Turn off the TV…don’t use the dishwasher…spend time together <3