December 12, 2009

Earrings, Bullets & Doilies, Oh My!!


In 2003 a tornado hit my parents house. At the time, my mother had taken my father to a last hope cancer clinic in Mexico.

The next day I flew down to Tennessee to help my sister reclaim my mother’s house, as we knew that Dad was coming home to die. They lived in a log home, so much of it was spared less the 20,000 gallons of water from the lake that replaced the roof. I spent the next week trolling through everything they owned cleaning up and clearing out.

In time a pattern emerged. In every nook and cranny of all things small, little tokens of those who lived there became apparent. My father’s tokens were ammunition (remember urbanites, we are talking about a log cabin in Tennessee.) I don’t know what kind they were, all I saw were little bullets everywhere. My sister’s stamp was earrings. Not necessarily in pair form. Just a lonely earring, abandoned over the course of 15 years, tucked away for me to find. And my mother, little crochet doilies everywhere. She didn’t make them, but when you live in Tennessee they aren’t hard to come by.

Open a drawer, look in a teapot, on top of the bookcase, in the bathroom you will find a bullet, an earring and a doily, parts of my family.

And now I’m stuck. Crocheting these little wire doilies that keep reminding me of that time. A time when everything was coming apart at the seams and comfort was found in the familiar signs of everything that annoys me about my family.

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