Tag Archives: earrings

Gifted

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Everything in my life came from somewhere…

Sometimes I am just plain overwhelmed by how gifted my life has been.  It seems as though everywhere I look, there is something to be grateful for, some gift I’ve been given that warms my heart.  Whether tangible or not, gifts surround me.

As I chose today’s clothes and accessories to wear to work, it dawned on me that many of the things I’m wearing were gifts from important people in my life.  The denim jacket with the Cinetel logo embroidered on it came from my friend Sam, who gave it to me as he was moving away from the area years ago.  I was too large to wear it when he gave it to me, but since weight loss surgery and shrinkage have happened, it now fits with room to spare.  It’s a warm reminder of Sam’s friendship and the laughs we’ve shared over the years we’ve known each other.  When I wear it, it’s like a hug from him.

I am wearing the Vicki treble clef earrings and the Olivia bracelet I mentioned in an earlier post called “Hand Made”, shiny reminders of these beautiful women whose lives have touched mine as we crossed paths through faith and music.  Such gifts are a tribute to their thoughtfulness.  While I treasure the jewelry (and I definitely do!) I treasure the women and their friendship even more.  Each of them is entering a new phase of life right now.  Vicki is getting married in 2 weeks and Olivia is finishing up her doctorate and about to begin a new teaching position.  My prayers are with them both as they continue on the paths God has set for them.

On our last adventure trip to Las Vegas, Sweet Pea and I drove out into the desert to Primm, where there is a huge outlet shopping place.  That drive into the desert was astonishing, the rugged beauty of jagged rocks and a huge sky overwhelming me with a view so different from home.  That is where my white gold emerald and diamond anniversary ring came from, which I am also wearing today.  It was an early 19th wedding anniversary present.  The ring is beautiful and I love it…but the relationship with my husband is the true gift.  The ring serves as a reminder of what really matters.

I also wear a little silver bead and crystal cross bracelet.  This came from my cousin Judy.  She slipped it onto my wrist last August on a hot, muggy morning.  It was the morning we buried Aunt Ruby and my cousins had asked me to conduct her graveside service.  I think Judy knew I’d need a little extra strength for the day, and the bracelet carried her love and prayers with it.  It continues to do so and I wear it with love and gratitude.

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Thanksgiving following Aunt Ruby’s passing, our family gathered at my cousin Holly’s house for the first time without Aunt Ruby’s presence among us.  It was a bittersweet day, with both laughter and tears as we remembered the joy of Thanksgivings past when we gathered at Aunt Ruby’s house on Arnold Street.  My cousins presented me with a gorgeous pair of earrings, a love gift for preaching Aunt Ruby’s funeral and a reminder of the many roles she had served in our family, among them, the resident ear-piercer.  And the gem of choice?  Rubies.  Of course.  Doubly meaningful because Aunt Ruby’s name was also Mama’s birthstone.

 

 

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Everything I have, material and otherwise, came from someplace, from someone.  As meaningful and special as the material gifts are, they are just reminders of the true gifts, which are the people whose lives touch mine and the Lord Who brought all of it together in the first place.  He put me in the family He chose for me and brought into my path the friends He knew I would need to make my life rich, fun, musical and colorful.  

So yes, in all honesty, I can say that I am indeed greatly gifted.

Piercing Memories

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Style, substance and sentiment…

Aunt Ruby pierced my ears the first time when I was 7 or 8 years old.  I don’t remember exactly when she did it, but I remember the setting vividly.  I sat at the end of the kitchen table in the house on Arnold Street.  She rubbed my earlobes with alcohol while Mama looked on, probably expecting me to change my mind at the last minute.  After each earlobe was sterilized, Aunt Ruby took a blue ballpoint Bic Stic pen and marked a spot on one ear and then the other, making sure they were straight and even.  After this, she sterilized her sewing machine needle with alcohol and poked holes in my lobes as quickly as possible, (she never bothered with trying to numb them using ice cubes) inserting a pair of her own 14-karat gold stud earrings as my starter pair.   She had cleaned them with alcohol as well, and instructed me to twist the posts around several times a day and to dab more alcohol around them daily to avoid infection while they healed.  I was not to remove or change earrings for 6 weeks, again, to minimize the risk of infection.

I remember that it hurt a little, but it was not too bad, and there was only a tiny little bit of blood.  Most of the shots I’ve had in doctors’ offices have hurt worse than getting my ears pierced.  I couldn’t wait for my Daddy to come home from work so I could show him my newly pierced ears.  I felt very grown-up and sophisticated, like I had taken a step toward adult ladyhood.

Mama always joked that her body would reject anything that was not at least 14-karat gold, and she always wore good earrings because her ears were sensitive.  And she insisted on my wearing good earrings as well to avoid irritation and infection.  She began to build me a small but good quality jewelry collection and taught me how to appreciate and care for good earrings, rings and necklaces.  Once I got older and realized that my ears were less sensitive than hers were, I ventured into the world of fashion or “costume” jewelry.  I’ve even been known to wear colorful thumb tacks in my ears if they matched an outfit!

When I left for my freshman year of college, I received 2 pairs of earrings as gifts.  From Dad I received a pair of gold ball studs to go with the add-a-bead necklace Mama had been adding to for me (they were all the rage at the time).  And my brother, Reed, gave me a pair of small, beautiful pearl stud earrings almost exactly like the ones of Mama’s that I had borrowed so many times for dressy occasions.

Summer after my junior year of college I had Aunt Ruby pierce my ears a second time.  I was engaged and my sweet husband-to-be had given me 2 pairs of earrings while we were dating, and I knew I wanted to wear both pairs on our wedding day.  Once again, I sat at the end of Aunt Ruby’s kitchen table with alcohol, Bic Stic pen, and sewing machine needle at the ready, the accoutrements of the familiar ritual of piercing and bonding.  Again there was a sting and a bit of blood, and the familiar instructions for keeping my new piercings infection-free.  This was June of 1985.  I remember the date because a friend from school got married the next week and she noticed my new piercings at the reception.

Flash forward 20 years to 2005.  It was October and the weather was cooling off.  Aunt Ruby was 80 years old at this point and her eyesight was failing.  I’d been wanting one last piercing in my left ear for quite a while and I figured I’d better go ahead and have her do it before she got to the point that she couldn’t anymore.  This last ritual did not take place at the kitchen table on Arnold Street.  Aunt Elaine’s husband was dying with cancer, and Aunt Ruby was staying with them for comfort and moral support.  So my last piercing happened in Aunt Elaine’s bathroom.  It was, I am positive, Aunt Ruby’s last piercing as well.  She didn’t have the hand strength she had enjoyed when she was younger, and she had a little more trouble getting the sewing machine needle through my earlobe.  Again, a little sting and a bit of blood, piercing and bonding.

I am very sentimental about my piercings because of the stories behind them.  Aunt Ruby pierced countless ears of family members and neighborhood girls (and the occasional boy).  Each earring has a story as well.  Some were Mama’s, some gifts from The Aunts, some from Jeff, my sweet husband.

And you might ask, why 5 piercings and not 6?  It’s a good question.  The best answer is that I’ve always felt a little bit askew, like nothing about me really “matched”.  The 5th piercing reminds me that it’s OK to be a little off-center, a little quirky.  Aunt Ruby loved me, quirkiness and all.

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