I'm standing in the entryway of a house I visited many times as a child. The mood is often serene, with a bit of light streaming in. From one end of the house I can hear someone quietly humming in the kitchen, and from the other end of the house float the murmurs of the television. In the entryway, where my stubby childhood self is standing, hang beautiful sepia-tone photos of aunts and uncles and cousins - the trappings of a proud mother. My sister and I struggle to remove our hat, coat, and boots which seems to signal the room to burst into loud, vibrant color! There are greetings, hugs and kisses, laughter. The questions, "how was the trip" and "are you hungry"...I never could figure out how my immediately affirmative response resulted in a meal several hours later. Never mind that, I would soon be exploring the worn curious spaces framed in earthy brown, dramatic orange, avocado green, and harvest gold. The dining room was the best, set apart from the kitchen with a wooden spindle half-wall room divider so I could track meal progress, explore, and ponder how anything could get done with so much laughter! My eyes wander to my self-assigned task of attempting to count my Grandmother's massive collection of salt and pepper shakers. They cover the walls like flowers on a vine, each a unique color and shape and size. My grandmother knew the story of each one. Some she had picked up on her own to remind her of people she loved, like the little brown hugging bears and the elongated teal poodles with the sparkling sequin collars. Many of the shakers were cherished gifts like the bear holding a garbage can, the precariously dangling green and purple glass grapes, and the elegant, long-neck pink cats. I don't recall ever finishing my count of the hundreds of seasoning containers in her collection. Most often I would find a new set and take them to her. I loved watching her eyes light up as she cupped the shakers in her hands and told me their origin story in her quiet, elegant, and dignified manner.
Even today, when I find a curious set of forgotten shakers, I am reminded of my Grandmother's colorful legacy, generously seasoned with love! How precious are the stories we give and share, sometimes imbued on the most unexpected things. From old photos and quilts to books of poetry, potted plants and tarnished tools, a song, a movie, a work of art...each represent the precious puzzle pieces of life. So what are your "salt and pepper shakers"? What are the stories you'll leave? What are the vibrant, flowering colors of your legacy?