My granddaughter, Tess, stared at me as if she was seeing me for the first time. She said, "Grampa, let me see your teeth." (Her father is a dentist so I knew I was in trouble.) I showed them and she said "Your teeth are dark colored." "I know, when people are my age their teeth aren't as bright as they used to be. Show me your teeth." "Your teeth are really white." She asked, "Grampa, are you an antique?" (We had just been talking about antiques.)
We looked around the house for other antiques besides me. There is a table, with feet of eagle claws resting on glass balls that was handed down from my Grandmother Price to my mother and to me. "It's very old," I said to Tess. Whenever I look at the table or touch it, I am reminded of my grandmother and my devoted mother who kept it so lovingly and then when she was finished with it entrusted it to me for safe keeping." I will pass it on to Tess' mother and perhaps some day Tess will have it to keep.
When I look at the table I see my Grandmother's face again, though she is no longer with us. I even hear her voice and recall her smile. I remember myself as a little boy leaning against this antique, listening to one of her stories. The table does that for me. I see my mother again and warm by the precious memories of her life and what she did for me.
There is a picture on the wall of BW's grandfather. It is in one of those domed glass frames covering the picture of a spit and polished young man with his hair oiled and combed just right. He is wearing a suit that yells, "this is the gay '90 or in the early 1900." "Now that's an antique," I boast. "Over 100 years old." Of course it has a few marks and scratches but it is in good condition. "Sometimes age does that, Tess. But the marks are good marks. They show living, being around. That's something to display with pride. In fact, sometimes, the more an object shows age, the more valuable it can become." It is important that I believe this for my own self-esteem.
Our tour of antiques continued out in the garage. "See these tools. They belonged to my father and grandfather. They are priceless to me. When I use these tools my hands feel the power and the warmth of their hands."
"The one thing about antiques, Tess, is that they usually have a story. They've been in one home and then another, handed down from one family to another, traveling all over the place. They've lasted through years and years. They could have been tossed away, or ignored, or destroyed or lost. But instead, they survived."
For a moment Tess looked thoughtful. Her face brightened and she said, "I don't have any antiques but you." I embraced her in a hug that will last through the years.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School. He lives in Plainfield and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at Larry Vandeventer 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.