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As I travel around during the holidays, visiting friends and attending gatherings, I am cashing in on a decision from five years ago. Everywhere I go I see pieces of my past, and of my family and of my home back in Arden.

When we cleaned out the old homestead, the house I grew up in and in which my parents lived for fifty years, I brought home lots sentimental objects no one wanted. I am talking about statuettes and tea kettles, vases, and trays, lamps and pictures, and all manner of things Mom and Dad collected. They were Depression-era folks, and my mother was an orphan thrown on the street at one point in her youth, so things held a great place in her heart. She collected stuff like no one I know. She had rows of decorative tin cans in her kitchen, and pitchers and glasses and silverware to arm ten houses. She made afgans year round forever, and saved games, books, puzzles and everything in between in volume.

So in bringing home a carload of such stuff from the old homestead that I didn’t personally want, I needed a place to put it all. So, I spread it out in my dining room like a store and invited my friends to select whatever they wanted for themselves. It was genius because now, I am delighted to find these objects, filled with history and memory for me, everywhere I go.

Recently I saw an antique glass oil lamp among a collection my friend has on her mantle that had been in my brother’s room years ago, was served tea at a wreathing party from Mom’s holiday teapot, and last night saw a beautiful serving tray at a Christmas party that once had been in Mom’s china cabinet.

Without a lot of contact with my family of origin I sometimes need these reminders to help me know I really came from somewhere. That I have connections to somebody. So seeing Mom and Dad’s things spread around my friends’ homes, incorporated into my life today, does somehow add to my feeling of family at the holidays.

Call me crazy, but that’s how it is.