Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sorting Treasures

Mom has been gone for three years and Dad left us in April. We sisters finally got together to sort through their household belongings. Yes, there were garbage bags lined up outside and plenty of boxes for the thrift store, but the special items would find new homes with us seven kids. We know how the ranch assets were distributed, now to tackle the other treasures from a lifetime.

Neither of our folks were into collecting stuff. Dad’s life was the ranch and he had few other belongings. But there were his worn saddle, batwing chaps and silver bit. Mom was an artist, writer and homemaker extraordinaire. Who would take the quilts and paintings? And what about the ceramics created with mountain clay by our grandma’s hands?

In the end we divided up the “medium good” from the “extra special,” drew for order of choosing, and then took turns. Donna got the coveted “grandma putty jar” with the arrow heads and old coins. Janene took the little old man and woman busts that grandma made. Our ranching brother fittingly has the bit, and Kit the antique Navajo rug. Many of the items have no monetary value, but have inestimable worth to each of us.

We sat there in Mom and Dad’s living room that night, laughing and celebrating. Wondering how each of us would show off the items we took from that cherished space, all the while knowing the greatest gifts from Mom and Dad are those we carry around with us every day.

Our folks’ selflessness and their love for each other. A love of the land and family. Mom’s creativity, Dad’s work ethic. All of these are firmly ensconced, albeit imperfectly, in our characters. These heirlooms don’t need dusted or insured, mounted or displayed. They’re the ultimate hand-me-down that can’t be broke or stolen. And there’s enough to go around to all the grandkids in starter homes, dorm rooms and city apartments from Idaho Falls, to Houston, to New York City. A rich inheritance indeed.  

picking paintings for the grandkids
after the sort we're still best friends
Sister Retreat 2013

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