Thursday, June 05, 2014

It's the stories

There's a plant in the corner of our deck that we've had almost as long as we've been married. Jilda's mom gave it to her, but her mom had gotten it from Jilda's grandmother. I'm sure the plant has a story even beyond that, but I'm not the one to tell it.
One thing aging has taught me is that most of the things we have in our home that we cherish, have a story. Very little of what we have would be considered valuable unless they could somehow tell their story.
Wouldn't that be a cool invention? The ability to put a chip into the things we love that could tell their story.
The bowl on our coffee table might tell this story:
I am a bowl, carved from the stump of an Irish Ash tree by Dominique Madden. The Irishman pulled a burning chunk of wood from a fireplace one night when he was performing with Rick and Jilda at Characters Pub in Tullamore Ireland. Dominique stomped the fire from the chunk of wood with his boot and told Jilda, "I'll make you something out of this."
A few months later, he mailed the bowl to the Watsons with a poem he'd written entitled "Bowl with a hole." I've been a candy dish on their coffee table since 1999.
When we are gone, the relatives left will sort through our things and wonder why this odd assortment of things meant enough to us to keep. The answer is simple, it's the stories.

Bleeding heart that once belonged to Jilda's grandmother


  1. Awe.. I like this Rick... this is the truth, the things we keep have stories, maybe we should write some of them down so that people will know why they were important :)

  2. I like this and agree with it. I love a story about a story..... good one!

  3. You have touched on a topic that I dearly love: the story behind it.
    Love this blogpost.

  4. Good observation! Yes, it would be so cool if we could listen to the story of things. I believe that all items have a sentimental value and hence I become a hoarder of things :P

  5. Very true. It's the story that makes things precious.

    Moody Writing

  6. Rick this is so awesome. I love that story and I hope it gets passed down through generations and generations. Perhaps Jordan can pass it down to his children someday? :)

  7. You are so right. Everything has a story to tell. I have an heirloom plant and I've intended to tell it's story on my blog post and I even took pictures of it last week with the intention of telling it's story and you have inspired me. Thanks.

  8. Dear Rick, this is a thought-provoking posting as it makes me look around my office as I sit here blogging and really think of the stories surrounding all the lovely things in this room--Suzy the doll given to me by Santa Claus when I was eight; the paper-mache giraffe that I bought at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, way back in 1968; the sculptured angel atop a pedestal music box that I bought with my friend Annette, who died in 1998. So many memories. So many stories. Thank you for prompting me to think of this. And thanks for that beautiful photograph of the aged bleeding heart--how wonderful that it has given its beauty to at least three generations. Peace.

  9. I've found it's not usually the fancy things that are the most dear or the most interesting. It's the humble little items that have the stories. My grandfather was a railroad man, and I've got the few pieces of railroad china that he was able to keep from those days. From my grandmother I had an inexpensive wood frame mirror that was carved like eyelet lace. It hung over her dressing table for as long as I remember. I looked it up on EBay once, and they're not worth much. But to me it was a very sentimental item. I spray painted it a fuschia color, and it now hangs in my granddaughter's bedroom - an updated reminder of their great, great grandmother. But my favorite item is a kitschy little ceramic parmesan cheese shaker shaped like an organ grinder, complete with a tiny brass bell for an earring. That thing sat on a shelf in my grandma's kitchen where us little one's sat when we were too small for the grownup table. That was the one thing I wanted when she passed away a few years ago, and to me it's a treasure. I love how you and Jilda have that heirloom Bleeding Heart plant - the karma on your deck must be perfect for it.

  10. Love the story of the bowl and the plant both! Aren't the stories behind things wonderful? They make life so much more interesting and hold on to our memories for us!


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