I decided to clean the bottom shelf of the china closet. There are things that have to be moved, dusted, tossed and as time goes by more things are added and more dust collects. It is then I pick up the little cherub holding the urn of plastic violets and my cleaning stops.
I sit down with the cherub in my hand and run my fingers over the plaster of paris urn and straighten the plastic violets. The years tumble and I am back on the farm on Rowe Hill in the mid sixties. There are cows in the field, pig in the back sty, barn cats and one dog and I am in the middle of a typical farm morning trying to ready four kids for the school bus.
Three of the four are attending classes but the oldest son, Brian, is going on a field trip this spring day. Where? Where else!! The Rumford Wild Animal Farm is awaiting him and his class mates. He is excited but, at the same time, a little nervous as usually his big sister, Debra, is with him and Brian is shy. I make sure three have their lunch boxes and Brian has a little paper bag with a snack. I was told that they would all have a picnic lunch provided, but I worry and he is so small! Debra has been there and has told him about the animals and that there is a little store where he can buy a souvenier or some candy or ice cream.
He has his paper bag and I give him fifty cents tucked in the corner of a “baggie” for the little store. With his still looking a little concerned, I reassure him that I will be waiting to hear all about his adventures. I watch as they disappear down the driveway, past the lilac bush and old elm tree. My heart is in my throat and I hope all will go smoothly for my shyest child. Do mothers ever stop worrying? Never, not even when I know that his teacher will make sure that he is comfortable and that he will be with others.
The day passes with the usual routine of making beds, sweeping floors, checking to make sure the cows are still in their pasture and not wandering to the neighbors’ fields, but my mind still wanders to Brian at the Rumford Wild Animal Farm. I will be glad when he gets home.
Soon enough, I see the four little people coming up the hill to home and Brian is making big strides ahead of the others. His face is looking excited and my fears have vanished.
“Did you have a good time?” I ask him. “Yup,” he answers as the three gather around to hear about his day. He still clings to the brown sack I gave him this morning and I ask if he ate his snack. “Yup,” he says. “Did you go to the store?” I ask. “Yup.” These one word answers !!!! “What did you get yourself?” I ask. His hand dives into the bag and I am waiting to see what he brought home to remind himself of this first visit to the Animal Farm. “Nothing. I got this for you.” In his hand is a little cherub holding an urn of plastic violets.
I sit here holding my precious little cherub who has moved over the years with me. It reminds me of a little boy who thought of his mother and spent his fifty cents on her instead of ice cream or candy.
You can’t beat that for a memory; Yup! Sentimental is good.