The Vase Upon The TableBy Byron Pulsifer, © 2011
On occasion, certain memories flash back into my consciousness. I do not know what precipitates these memories although it may be something as simple as certain billboards with some words of wisdom by a notable author or speaker, or maybe it is as simple as a person who reminds me of days gone by.
One of these memories recently came to mind, and it entailed a snapshot in time of my mother, who died many years ago. Shye had an ornate table with a single vase standing on it. The table, as I remember, was always in the family for I remember having to polish it as a child as one of my weekly chores. It was such a beautiful table and my mother was very proud to have it in her living room.
Our family moved around a lot because my father, as a Spanish and Hawaiian guitar teacher, needed to find new students as the old learned and left. We never were without food, a home to live in, or really wanted for anything. But, as I grew older, I knew why.
My father would usually make enough money to buy us food, and needed clothing, and looked after the doctor bills, or dentist bills by paying out of his own pocket for a family of six. He was self-employed and did not have any medical coverage. In fact, I doubt there were many people who had such benefits, when I was a child.
Through many, many moves, mom was the organizer, the packer, and the general overseer of everything that needed to be done. Dad was away from around one o'clock and didn't return until well after ten o'clock each evening so the major kid rearing, cooking and cleaning was all on her shoulders. I can also remember her sewing almost every night - there were socks to mend and pants to patch.
And, through all these years, every summer saw her can vegetables, pickles, fruit, and anything else that could be preserved through canning. And, every time we moved, guess what got packed into the moving truck - that's right, all the rest of the canned goods left from the previous year. Sometimes, there were more than two hundred jars to be packed.
My point is this; mom didn't take vacations; she didn't go out and buy fancy clothes; she didn't buy expensive perfumes but what she did buy was for her four children. And, through it all, there was her table - the table that always sat in the living room with a vase on top.
We seem to take so much for granted as children and as young adults. We don't see the sacrifices, the long nights caring for a sick child or more than one, and we don't see the stress of not knowing when the next money will come in because we were off to unknown waters that offered no guarantee that dad would find enough new students to pay the bills. And, all through the years there sat the ornate table with a vase on top.
I sit back now and then and stare at that table - you see, it also sits in my living room. It is a constant reminder of what love was shown by my mother, what she endured over the years, and what she gave to us so we could have what we needed. And, her only prized possession was the ornate table with the vase on top.
Maybe it is time we all took a real hard look at what we have, at what we don't need but think we need, and realize that what we could give to another would more than make up for doing without the latest techno gadget, or DVD, or you name it. What do you think?
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