Beauty In An Unexpected Gift
My Dad was the son of a Cattle Baron. He grew up on a ranch rich in history, green grass and oak trees sprawling across his home place, small ponds (or, as country folk like myself call them, “tanks”) and a sizable lake stocked full of good fish to catch, and, of course, there were horses to ride and cattle to fatten up. In my Mom’s words, “He lived and breathed the country, agriculture and wanted to be with and be like his father, Henry “Son” Lide.” My Mom was the daughter of one of most well known cattle buyer’s in the state of Texas, Rufus Buford Nalls. As a little, red headed, freckled faced girl, she was known to run around on their family farm shirtless, meandering between horses and cows, pleading with her brothers to join her while playing cowboys and indians on the family farm. She must have been agriculturally inclined by osmosis. Because, though it might not have been her life’s plan, being a cattle woman came naturally to her.
And, two people from different places but similar backgrounds found one another. Upon a bet from my Mom’s Dad, Daddy Rufus, as we call him, he said, “Glenda, I know someone you should try to get a date with.” My Mom, of course, shaking her head, asked, “Who?” Her Dad replied, “Don Lide, I know him from the sale (also known to people outside of that world as cattle auction or sale barn).” Young and free and full of confidence, my Mom shuttered at the thought of dating someone her Dad thought was a good match for her (we all know how that goes). But, as chance would have it, my Mom met my Dad, and, much to her surprise, her Dad was right on the money. They married, had two kiddos, and were (and, continue to be) well respected for their work and positive contribution in the farming and ranching community.
If you’re in business for yourself, you know that, sometimes, trades are made between two like minded entrepreneurs. Just recently, I traded some gold for labor on creating a few new Sparrow charms to sell. I must have been channeling my sweet Dad. In the late 1970’s, he was trading cattle with a man who was also a silversmith. Somewhere in between their cattle trade, my Dad came out with a beautiful, heavy, sterling silver and red coral cuff for my Mom. She loved it and wore it frequently until her youngest daughter (that would be me) saw it on the table, picked it up and cracked it into two pieces right before her eyes. She was so sad that her bracelet was broken, but, not to worry, she never, ever, ever, ever let me live it down.
Secured in a beautiful porcelain jewelry box on my Mom’s vanity, each time she would look into it, she would remind me of this beautiful bracelet that my Dad gave her and how I broke it into two pieces. As she guilted me, she always followed it with a laugh and a smile. And, she reminded me that I had inadvertently added to the sweet story of a loving husband and “cattle for jewelry trade” turned beautiful, sentimental gift for her.
So many times, I peered into that porcelain jewelry box, seeing the broken cuff and remembering layer upon layer of the story. Because my Dad passed away not too long after giving her that special piece of jewelry, it’s meaning was even deeper that what I could conceive. This last January, I secretly took the broken cuff from her jewelry box and sent it to my first class friend and master goldsmith, Bubba, to repair. Once it was back in one perfect piece, I packaged it along with a precious, black and white photo of my Dad to give to my Mom before Valentine’s Day.
Let me tell you, I was brimming over with excitement on the day I pulled out the photograph of my Dad and newly repaired cuff. As she opened the photo and the cuff, her eyes filled with tears. She said, “Jilly, let me tell you the story on this again.” And, of course, I listened attentively to a story I had heard so many times before. And, once the story was complete, she said in a kind and loving voice, “I can keep the picture of your Dad, but I cannot keep the bracelet. It’s yours. It was meant for me initially, but, after you broke it, I always knew it would be yours.”
That moment was one I will never forget. The stories layered within that bracelet, I will never forget. And, the love, the most precious love between two country kids who grew up and, together in love, gave me and my big sister life, I absolutely will never, ever, ever, ever forget. The bracelet is a tangible expression of many different kinds of love. When I look at it now perfectly nestled in my own jewelry box and wear it, I feel the love, wear the love, heck, I AM THE LOVE. And, most importantly, it’s a beautiful reminder that what we have once loved and held dear in our hearts lives on in our hearts and somehow multiplies exponentially- making something that was simply created to bring color and style to the woman who wears it, something now steeped in a beautiful story of love.
May your days be filled with things and people you love. And, may you embody the kind of love that blesses everyone in your path and beyond. Remember, love is the stuff that makes this beautiful world go around.
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