Thursday, February 26, 2015

Things I keep

I sometimes look around the house at all the unnecessary things I hang onto, things I have taken with me every time we moved to a different house, and I wonder what it is that makes them worth keeping.  I'm not one to dust any more than I have to, so you would think I'd try to get rid of "dust-catchers".  Case in point:
Cliff's mom worked at the place that made these types of decorative things to hang on a wall.  I believe the name of the company was Sexton; when Cliff wakes up I'll check with him and change the information if it's incorrect.  

You can still buy this stuff, and for a very low price; go to Ebay, type "sexton decor" into the search, and be prepared to spend some time, if you intend to look at all the results.  The company must have been turning them out by the thousands, as plentiful as they are.  And yet, I hang onto it and actually prize the thing.  I stored it away in the junk room of our old house for years, simply because I was tired of looking at it.  Finally I decided that, because of the story behind it, I should display it in a prominent place.

Before she was ever my mother-in-law, Melva worked in the factory where they made these things.  The way she related it to me, this particular item had a slight flaw, and employees could buy flawed merchandise for a low price.  You can take that for what it's worth, since Cliff's mom sometimes had a tendency to "dress up" the truth.  I don't say that to put her down; it was a fascinating part of her unique personality that still makes us smile when we relate certain stories from the past. 

So she bought it for Cliff's birthday.  This all happened before I ever met Cliff, by the way.  

When Cliff and I got married, he was living at home.  I had been living alone in an apartment for three years, so I had the basic furniture we needed to start housekeeping, while Cliff had little more than his paycheck to bring to the table.  (Insert snickering here as I think of the comments Cliff will make when he reads this.)

Cliff's parents never had a lot of money or valuable belongings, but his dad always had the idea that if he owned a widget (I remember having a teacher in high school who was always using the word "widget"), it was the best danged widget ever created.  The man lived in fear of thieves breaking in and stealing something of his;  It was really hilarious if you only knew how little he had!  

We had been married for a couple of years with one baby and another on the way when Cliff's mom handed over the horses-running plaque.  "Elwood didn't want to give this to you at first because he didn't think you-uns would stay married," she told me.  

Yes, friends and neighbors, my father-in-law was afraid Cliff and I would divorce, and I would end up with this priceless treasure.  

Two of Cliff's siblings had very brief marriages before he and I met, and I guess I can't blame his parents for thinking our marriage wouldn't last any longer than the others had.

So I prize that horses-on-the-wall plaque, not because of the value of the thing, but because of the story behind it.  I'm so glad I never gave my in-laws any cause to worry about the final destination of that work of art.


9 comments:

TARYTERRE said...

It is a lovely piece of art. The horses are beautiful. And the story that accompanies it about your MIL is charming. Nice you kept it. Now you can pass it down so it and the story remain a part of family history.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Heck, that piece is like a badge of honor or a medal, sort of celebrating you and Cliff's longevity in your marriage. I'd have to keep that one as well. But by and large I hate objects that sit or hang around a house. The less on the walls and surfaces, the quicker and easier it is to clean.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'd hang that in a prominent place too. If nothing else it is a testimony to your marriage.

Charade said...

Oh yes, you must keep that on display. But on the back, I'd be writing a caption - something like DONNA OUT FRONT. CLIFF RUNNING RIGHT BEHIND SAYING, "If you ever leave me, I'm going with you."

You are the BEST storyteller!

Sister--Three said...

And it still hangs there as you and cliff still sit side by side to admire the treasure.

Average Jane said...

I love that story!

Paula said...

A really neat story.

Margaret said...

I love the story and the horses look very realistic!

Jean said...

I love your story about the piece of art. It is a pretty piece. I wouldn't mind having it hanging on my wall. I had to smile about what you said about Cliff when he read it.