Heirloom

Table with runner

heir·loom

noun \ˈer-ˌlüm\

1: a piece of property that descends to the heir as an inseparable part of an inheritance of real property

2: something of special value handed on from one generation to another

3: a horticultural variety that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals

On Sunday I posted this photograph to Facebook with the comment – new heirlooms.  The table was just finished by lifelong friend Russell Donelson.  He’s a contractor but is one of the best finish carpenters I know and he loves doing it.  He knew I wanted a table 3 years ago when we were doing the renovation on the room it’s in.  He got the rough lumber from a neighboring town and had it drying in his barn – waiting.  I had the base made in Vermont because the price was right and I wanted turned legs which Russell thought was a good idea.  He then went to work on the top.  The Friday before Thanksgiving I arrived at the house to see it sitting in the living room.  Visually it’s beautiful but when you touched it it was like silk.  I spent the next two days oiling and waxing and getting to know my new table top.  Rubbing and reading the wood.  This is one beautiful piece of furniture and is wonderful that it was made by a good friend who took pride not only in his work but in the provenance of the wood.

The hooked mat I made while Russ was making the table, it was a large surface that would be screaming for a runner.  I’ve just begun hooking rugs and thought this would look good.  It was a challenge I gave myself to get it finished by the time the table came into the living room.  It’s fun, relatively practical and I was only a week off in finishing it.

I was thinking about the things we put value on and why.  For me it’s so much of an emotional thing.  The table means a lot to me because of Russell but I also envision gatherings around it to eat, converse, play board games, bond with family and friends.  Over time it will mean much more to me then it does now and I’m hoping it will mean more to others as well.

The runner I see as one of those things that will be on the table for a while then be relegated to the closet until such a time when things are cleaned out and it gets passed to someone else who has a sentimental attachment to it because some great grandmother in the distant past made it.

There is a silver sugar spoon that my mother always had in her sugar bowl – it’s still in the kitchen.  On the handle are the initials W.R.C.  She told me that she always hoped that it belonged to some long lost relative but came to the realization that it stood for “Women’s Relief Corp”.  She always laughed about it.  Not too long ago I found a silver sugar spoon in the attic with all of  my great grandmother’s things and brought it home to use in my kitchen.  The initials on the handle are L.G.D.  I was doing some research on the Gilbert side of my family tree when I realized that the spoon had belonged to Lydia Gilbert Duncan (1811-1898), my third great aunt.  It was one of those fantastic moments of discovery in the family tree world but all I could think about was my mother wanting that family heirloom and it had been sitting in her attic all along.

“Family stories make the most valuable heirlooms.” (Author unknown)

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