“Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depths of some devine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.”
― Alfred Tennyson
(a refrigerator is hiding under the tokens of a lifetime / Julie Cook /
I think it first started somewhere in-between childhood and adolescence.
This odd habit of adoring some blank canvas, in this case a refrigerator, with the important, and not so important, special mementoes of a life lived with some sort of purpose.
Perhaps it was actually earlier.
Perhaps it dates back to early childhood.
Maybe it started during the annual holiday trek downtown in order to visit and pay homage to Santa.
She was sporting a green velveteen dress, the one with the lacy white collar and tiny little holly leaves layered with the pretty red wool car-coat accented with the black velvet trim, dressed in the season’s holiday finest, the little girl was dressed to impress both Santa and grandparents alike.
The year was 1964 and the long awaited and deeply anticipated day of a very important yearly right of passage had finally arrived.
Jumping into the car, proudly sitting in between her father and mother in the front seat, as this was long before the time of required back seat riders, the little girl is more than ready to make the journey downtown.
Upon entering the massive and historic shopping mecca, proudly and hurriedly marching toward the escalator, the family ascends upward to that most special and anticipated appointment. Here they find a long snaking and winding line made up of fidgety children, crying babies and mothers and fathers who have sadly long lost any and all holiday cheer. Taking their place in line, they join the throng of humanity weaving in and out of the furniture and rug aisles on the tip top floor of the department store.
It’s a confessional line of sorts where the tiny penitent line up in order to confess all indiscretions in hopes of procuring the wealth of a heart’s desire.
Rather than a curtained lined booth where a man with a white collar sat waiting in the shadows, here a jolly old man, with long flowing white hair and beard, donning a red suit, sits perched upon a throne, beaming a broad cheek to cheek smile with arms wide open.
As grand as this moment was to be, this was not the true culmination of the yearly magical visit.
The crowning moment came when a hesitant young father escorted his now giddy 5 year old daughter to the waiting open door of the tiny pink car. Settling her in on the cold metal seat, a helper elf shuts the small door. Looking through the wire mesh of the tiny window, she waves the triumphant wave of sheer bliss to her parents as she prepares for a magical adventure. Slowly, yet determined, the long pink monorail train, known as the famous Rich’s Pink Pig, lurches into motion.
Journeying out on to the roof top of the famous downtown department store, around the base of the giant anchored great tree, past the live reindeer caged in wooden stalls nibbling on hay and looking most out of place in this foreign southern locale, the Pink Pig slowly makes the entirely too short 3 1/2 minute circle along the track which had been in operation since 1953.
Following the ride and now proudly wearing the badge of honor, otherwise known as the Pink Pig sticker, which is strategically placed on the lapel of the red wool car-coat, the little girl, holding a crisp 5 dollar bill, enters Santa’s “secret shop” where helper elves assist children in the purchasing of presents for their parents.
Finally arriving home late in the afternoon, after the long, yet wonderful magically full day, the little girl bounds from the car, proudly carrying the tiny wrapped Christmas presents, that of the typical tie and bottle of perfume, the same presents Santa’s elves had helped her pick out and wrap. She hurries to her room where she intends to hide the precious presents deep in the recesses of her closet–safe from any prying eyes.
Then lastly, in a final tribute to a very special day, with the deepest and most solemn reverence, fit only for the most regal and spiritual of occasions, the little girl gently pulls the sticker from the lapel of her red wool car-coat, which is now more fuzzy then sticky, and places the not so sticky sticker proudly on the antique mirror her grandmother had bought for her room, the mirror she never liked because it was much too girly and frufru, alongside the two previous Pink Pig stickers.
Stepping back, making certain the growing horizontal line of pig stickers was straight, a small smile of satisfaction crosses her face. Little did she know that she would eventually have almost ten stickers pasted upon that antique mirror before the importance of the special annual rite of passage had finally played out.
Little did any one realize that an annual adventure to a pink pig, with the resulting pasting of a couple of Christmastime stickers onto an old antique mirror, would begin the importance of commemorating and marking the oh so important remembrances of those magically special moments in life which began in a young girl’s heart—Which would eventually, in turn, continue to unfold onto an unsuspecting refrigerator in the life of a not so young woman . . .
I promise I’m going to clean it off of all the “clutter”, soon. . .
Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.
Love it Julie. The doors of our refrigerator are similarly adorned – mostly with travel memories (business and pleasure).
You need a bigger refrigerator!! My refrigerator doors are covered with “artwork” from the grandchildren and pictures of them, of course. I try to declutter but it never works because the children want to see their work and their pictures and they look at them and discuss them every time they visit.
It does look that way doesn’t it?! And every time I decide to de-clutter, I can’t part with anything so into a shoebox it goes, and the I start all over again—
I’ve been debating stripping it bare—but every time I start, the sentimentality takes over—some of the magnets were from a fundraiser the local Elementary school’s art program ran when Brenton was a little boy, he drew a deer scene and they made the picture into a magnet, mug, etc—-I love those, and then I can’t part with John Paul, Maximilian Kolbe, oh—I think your’e right—I need more space 🙂
I like the way you put that…the refrigerator is hiding under the tokens of a lifetime. That’s exactly what they are! We had some alphabet letters on ours for a while way back when and when friends of family were here they loved to leave us a message before they left. Great post, Cookie. Love and hugs, N ❤