How Great Thou Part

It is completely unnatural to sort through our parents home once they leave us. It is counter intuitive to rip the puzzle pieces apart when we grow up needing them all to fit lovingly together.

My brother and sisters and I tried to respectfully honor both our mom and our own memories. We traced the steps of our youth from room to room. We would lift an item
and remember it’s roots….recall a mom moment…..laugh about who really dinged or broke what………and smile at our mom’s somewhat organized ‘disorganized‘ collection of kitchen gadgets.

We would tip toe through each moment. It meant giving each puzzle piece the dignity and value it deserved. We would each choose ‘heartfelt treasures’ that we needed to have. The items that were most uniquely destined to be our memory of our mom. A remnant of a grand love and an exceptional time that sculpted us.

As we crept through the interior of those cherished four walls I tried to capture its emotional leftovers. The now sweet sounding arguments over dirty dishes. The thunderously blissful chaos that five children running through the house would emit. The rich warmth of basking in our mother’s love that made these walls safer than any other. The shared and salty tears as we all cried over our “Figaro,” a cat that was indeed that iconic childhood pet.

That is how the day progressed until we entered the dining room. We stared at the fairly unattractive, Early American dining room set that our mom and dad had bought years before. I remembered well the many times our mom had told us she didn’t really care for Early American. It was our dad who had liked it at the time.

“I guess we shouldn’t be too sentimental about this,” I said. “After all it was never mom’s favorite.” My sister Kathy looked at me with horror. “This IS our family,” she said. “The years, the dinners and all of our family moments.”

So it was that it became a part of Kathy’s home. It was fine with the rest of us. I guess we, much like our mother, were not lovers of the Early American style.

The first holidays after our mom passed away were difficult and Thanksgiving was no exception. Soon though with each passing year, every Thanksgiving, the door from my sister’s house would swing open. The first thing I’d see was that somewhat unattractive dining room table, mom’s desert rose china, and the smell of her stuffing and turnips. I
would gleefully receive that unexpected gift of home happily slapping me in the face.

Then I’d sit in those stark, Early American chairs and though they were just plain, hard, flat wood they felt like I sank right into them. The rest of us sat there happily realizing that our sister had knowingly rescued the best part of home for us all.

Recently, my sister decided to sell her house and she mentioned that she thinks it’s time to get rid of mom’s dining room set. “What?” I thought. It was then that I realized that my boy’s may hear me saying the same thing my mom said growing up, “I really never liked Early American furniture, BUT……………………”
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