Hope Chest

Embroidered gingham and delicate crochet,
dried, pressed flowers and black paged scrapbooks
filled with yellowing photos in shades of gray...
white ink scrawled beneath....
Dad, Violet and me
Lydia, Galveston
Darris and Bepo

As children the smell of cedar...
or was it hope....beckoned us.
I'd sit on the floor with my sister
on the rare occasions
our mother opened what seemed 
a treasure trove of memory,
history and heirloom....
Even this remembering calls to me
with echoes of childhood, curiously alive.
"Tell us about the first time you met Daddy..."
....though we knew the story by heart.
"You're gonna get wet!" were his first words
as he ran past her... on the steps, in the rain.

There's something tangible, deeply meaningful and
palpably inherent in the simplest of childhood moments.
It's the feel of my mother's fingers in my hair, my head on her lap...
It's the smell of coffee and cigarettes floating on homemade music;

It's granny's front porch....anytime,
or the song from Laura's bead box spilling to the hard, cold floor.....
a thousand unstrung notes bouncing to the rhythm of a child's fascination.
It's fishing holes.... and pulling weeds.
It's a birthday song written and sung for me;
Be Bop A-Lu-la....
it's all of these,
wrapped in ribbons of memory.

These are the highest moments in life....the real gifts.
Personal achievement pales in the face of such recollection.
When it's all said and done, this is what matters....
what remains....tiny moments barely noticed....
rarely celebrated, if at all.

Beyond time, ageless and eternally available
memories anchor us and steady us.
Though fragile, like a whisper that lives in the heart,
they hold us and keep us safe...keep us loved.
It is from this that we can never be orphaned....
or lost.