Funny how an object can evoke strong memories. You may have a favorite toy from your childhood, a drawing that your own child brought home from their first-grade class, or a piece of jewelry you inherited from a favorite relative. These objects are “infused” with memories. Seeing and holding them can trigger the index in your mind to your “memory file cabinet.” It runs to the right “drawer” and pulls up the associated sights and sounds – even smells many times. How you felt on Christmas morning when you unwrapped that much-sought-after toy. The pride and wonder you had for your child standing bright-eyed before you, showing you this “masterpiece” in crayon. The delightful pretend “tea time” you had with that favorite relative when you visited as a child.
For me, one such memory-holder is an old copper tea kettle. Battered a bit and with a patina that’s decades old, it has been retired from service and now holds a place of honor among my bric-a-brac, including a glass vase from a shop in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and a bright red porcelain rose my husband gave me for Christmas a couple years ago.
The tea kettle had belonged to my father-in-law. Knowing my penchant for everything tea, he gave it to me one day about a year before his death. The memories of him it evokes are many. His stories of his days in the Navy during World War II. His generous and loving spirit with us and his other children. His skill with turning a piece of leather into a belt or other useful item. His resourcefulness during the years when finances were slim and he had a houseful of children to keep warm, healthy, and fed. The love and care he showed his wife (my mother-in-law), even during the later years of her life as her health was declining.
One thing that impressed me most was the pleasure he got from many simple things. He would watch the sunset over the mountains every day, noting the change in colors, how the clouds were gathered around those craggy peaks, and the amount of snowfall (sometimes even in the heat of Summer). He would chuckle at the sight of a flock of small birds that gathered patiently in the yard by the back door, waiting for the bird seed he would toss to them each morning. And much more.
The sight of that copper tea kettle, well-used over the years, helps me remember something very important: Take a moment to enjoy the simple things in life. A good cup of tea with a lemon tart. A big hug from a loved-one. Walking along a neighborhood street and taking in the sight of flowers in bloom. Taking time to listen to your favorite song playing on the radio and having a quick dance with your spouse. I know it sounds cliché, but these things and many more are too often taken for granted or go unnoticed altogether.
Take a moment in your hectic day to remember the simple things in your life. And don’t forget to enjoy a good cup of tea!
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