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Friday, February 19, 2010

Prized Possessions


Kass got me to thinking (if you haven’t met Kass already, you should). Yes, Kass got me to thinking about my prized possessions. I have but two: a pair of scissors that cannot cut and a broken fishing rod. That’s it. Just two prized possessions.

The Scissors

I have a pair of scissors. The carbon steel oxidized to satin black decades ago. They’ve never been sharpened. Not surprisingly, these scissors cannot cut...well...anything. Still. I keep them on my kitchen counter. I look at them each and every day. I glance at them and
I remember...

These scissors, you see, constitute the one and only present my parents received on their wedding day.

They were married in a shabby refugee camp shortly after the War ended in Europe. They had not suffered through the war together. No, in fact, they each faced the horrors alone. But after the war ended, my father set forth to find his intended bride. A woman ten years older than he, the woman he came to adore ten years earlier. The way he found her, the way he suffered, is a tale best left for another day. Find her he did. He fell to his knees (mostly from exhaustion methinks) and proposed. She said “yes” (although she had harbored doubts for many years). They married and became one.

They were married in a refugee camp in the company of the starving (both physically and spiritually). There was neither tuxedo nor wedding gown. There was no banquet (at least not in a conventional sense). The refugees, their only guests and witnesses, ventured into the woods to gather mushrooms and berries. What little they found they boiled and shared.

And so it came to pass that my parents married and celebrated by feasting on a paltry few mushrooms and berries. They received a modest gift to help them on their way, the best their little camp could muster: a pair of scissors.

These scissors-that-cannot-cut rest on my kitchen counter. I let them rest because they’ve earned their respite. Oh, they had cut all manner of materials for decades! Indeed, they had. They cut the locks that cascaded past eyebrows. They cut open letters sent by my grandparents: one exiled to Siberia, the other a widow bereft of her daughters, struggling to survive in Lithuania. These scissors cut fabric by the yard as my mother sewed the clothes my sister and I would wear to church and school. They cut wrapping paper and ribbons. Bandages and gauze. They cut loose threads, tape and twine. Coupons, flowers and snowflakes, too. They cut all manner of things that must be cut to raise a family and make a life.

They were ever-present. They were the most precious present.

They are a prized possession.

* * *

9 Comments:

Blogger Cheesy said...

What an intriguing post. I want to hear the sequel of the fishing gear.
Lovely tale- more more~

Sat Feb 20, 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger Kass said...

This belongs in a book. A collection of stories about prized possessions. So wonderful. I know I'm preoccupied with my mother right now and very fragmented. I could hardly get any thoughts together. You have expressed so much that touches me - you always do.

I've mentioned it before, and I can't remember where or to whom, but a favorite part of Out of Africa is when Karen's belongings arrive from Europe and she is thrilled to have these treasures around her.

We are taught not to place too much value on things - not to worship things as idols, but this is a world of THINGS, even our bodies. It's all we have as a means of communication.

Your words here on the screen in front of me - this THING - are providing me meaning and a sense of belonging - semi-tangible evidence that I've been understood.

Thank you for this thing,
Kass

Sat Feb 20, 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger joanne said...

i agree with kass... this IS a material world we live in, and in that material world there are things that hold meaning, stories, and are a means of communication... it is as if these things carry a sort of mystical essence in their blades and when we hold them in our hands we are transported into the world they keep for us... your storytelling is amazing and has reminded me of stories carried in a few of my own prized possessions...

Sat Feb 20, 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Selma said...

I am so moved by this story. You can't ever let those scissors go. They are worth more than diamonds and gold.

Sun Feb 21, 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Truth be told, Queen Cheese, I had intended to write about both of my prized possessions in this post. I couldn't. I found myself so emotionally drained, with memories scurrying down too many rabbit-holes, to do that.

I'll probably try again later, 'cuz that broken fishin' rod means a whole heckuva lot to me...

Tue Feb 23, 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thank you, Kass! See what you've wrought?

Tue Feb 23, 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Awwwwww, joanne and Selma! You are too kind. Too kind!

Tue Feb 23, 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Christella said...

Jonas,
Your writing skills are awesome. I could actually see your parents. Those scissors do work; they keep the memory of your parents' past alive, as they should.

Sat Feb 27, 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Christella! I'm so glad you've reappeared. I hope your woes are fading in Life's rearview mirror.

Thank you for your kind words.

Those scissors aren't really scissors any more. They're a magic talisman. My good luck charm and shield.

Sat Feb 27, 06:25:00 PM  

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