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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is it an old oval frame with a portrait of Great-Great Grandma, or maybe the rocking horse you found in the attic when grandma passed away. Of course great-great aunt Phoebe’s china is ancient and it was even used by her mother.

What makes an heirloom anyway? Is it because it’s old or valuable, Or because it was passed down through many generations?

Wikipedia says an Heirloom is something, perhaps an antique that has been passed down for generations through family members.

Well, the heirloom I have in mind was not passed down for many generations. In fact it belonged to my mother.

Way back in the early 50’s a nicely dressed stranger came to our house carrying a tightly zipped black notebook which made this little girl’s curiosity pop. We lived in a remote area and didn’t get door-to- door sales men except the Wat*kins and Rale*igh man and we all knew them.

This man was invited into our house where he told of a wonderful new cookware called Steel*co. He offered to come and prepare a dinner for us using his miracle product. A date was set and the house cleaned, especially the kitchen and range.

He came and cooked a pot roast, which we all happily ate. Mom and Dad purchased the cookware. There were several sizes of kettles, roasters and a steamer. I’m sure there were other pieces I don’t remember, but there is one I do remember very well because I’m using it. Mom passed away in 2001 and my sisters and I were able to have a few of the things her husband didn't want.

The reason I think the big kettle I have is an heirloom is because it has been around for nearly 60 years, it has cooked more meals than I could possibly count. Bean soup, pea soup, dad’s famous stew, many pot roasts from beef, venison, pork, elk, moose and probably bear. It has made countless batches of jams and jelly’s and so much more.

Mom cooked for her mom in it, and for she and dad, for her daughters and grandchildren. Now I am cooking for myself, my kids and grand kids and now my great grand kids. All in all it has served six generations so far and it’s still in good condition.

When I fill it with veggies for soup, I remember how mom looked as she did the same, sometimes humming a popular song, and sometimes yelling, “Get outside and play!”
I wonder what she was thinking of as she washed and dried this piece of family history?
I suppose like me she was thinking of what chore needed done next, or maybe she dreamed of going fishing with dad. Whatever she was thinking, I must say it gives me pleasure to run the dishcloth and towel over it, knowing mom’s sweet hands did the same.
I think an heirloom is something that caresses the heart.



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