The Worry Stone
I went through my jewelry box yesterday, taking a nostalgic journey back to my youth. It is really more of a treasure box, given to me by my Aunt Sara, where I salt away things of special significance. There is a wide variety of treasures- or at least, treasures to me- everything from a collection of my Mom’s Tennessee sayings to my bridge from when I was in elementary school. There are coins from my travels to different countries, a silly plastic pumpkin pin whose arms and legs move up and down from my aunt, and even some real jewelry. And there is my grandmother’s worry stone.
I have one memory of my Grandma and Grandpa, my mother’s parents. They are sitting at a table in front of a window covered with blinds, the light streaming in behind them, and they are smiling at me. They died instantly in a car accident when I was very young, so I don’t know for sure if this is an actual memory, or a photograph I saw sometime in the past. I want to believe it is real.
I used to beg my mother to tell me bedtime stories about my grandparents, and never tired of hearing about their horse and buggy courtship, the boarding house they ran during the Depression, the houses my grandfather would build right around the family, and the still that Grandma insisted Grandpa destroy, and threatened to leave him if he did not do so. Grandma was a strong woman, and Mom says that I look so like her. I gaze at her portrait hanging in our guest room, and I see that I have her high cheekbones and her squinty-eyed smile. I cherish that connection with her, with my family.
I remember when Mom gave me the worry stone, telling me that Grandma put it to good use when she was fretting over some problem or another. The stone is worn smooth, and when I rub my thumb across the coldness of it, I feel my grandmother’s presence. Such a simple thing, but it is one of my favorite treasures, shrouded as it is in echoes from the past. Whenever I pick it up and use it to help me think through a problem, I feel wrapped in my grandmother’s love, and I smile a squinty-eyed smile.