You know how you are drawn to certain color combinations? Whether it’s a throw for the back of the couch or the dominant shades of a print on the wall, when you see these two colors together your eyes widen for a second and your mouth might even round itself into a little OH as a hand automatically reaches toward the object. You can’t quite help yourself.
That is exactly what happened when I spotted this little handmade beauty at Goodwill. Any shade of cranberry to maroon crossed with forest or deep pine green gets my heart thumpy-thumping and if it happens to be vintage, the checkbook follows.
A bigger heart tugger though, is that I already own a few of these bowls. In varying sizes and patterns, each carry the small finger marks of its elementary-school creator, along with its endearing imperfections. Sure enough, a quick flip reveals the author of this piece…
So how did this handmade bowl end up here on a Goodwill shelf? Here’s the story…
No one likes the old woman that lives next door to Jeanette. Some say she’s lived there since she was first married, in a small tidy white house with two cement steps up to the front door and green awnings over each window to protect the insides from the sun.
No one crosses her yard to get to their friends quicker because she’ll rap her knuckles raw telling them to get out. No one trick-or-treats at her house because her porch light is never on. No one offers to clear the snow away in the winter or to gather up the fallen leaves in October because a pickup truck appears when needed, with leafblowers and snowblowers and out of town markings on its sides.
Until the crisp autumn afternoon when the old woman is making her daily trek to her mailbox at the same time that Jeanette is stepping off of the big yellow bus. They meet at the roadside, the old woman and the young girl, and as the old woman struggles with the latch on her box the young girl drops down to her knees. She unzips her backpack with determination and ever so carefully removes a white plastic bag from inside.
“For you,” she whispers to the old woman, who turns toward the soft voice, circulars mailed to occupant in hand.
“I made it.”
The old woman reaches down as the young girl reaches up and the old woman receives the hug the young girl so freely gives her. She watches as the young girl gathers up her backpack and waves back at her with the white plastic bag swinging in the afternoon air. The old woman runs a gnarled thumb along the small thumbprints along the edge of the crooked cranberry-colored bowl and a smile forms along her lips.
“I will keep it forever,” the old woman whispers into the silence of the autumn air.
She brings that handmade bowl up the two cement steps and right into her kitchen, where she places it on the unused red-flecked placemat directly across from her much-used one.
There that cranberry handmade bowl with the dark green piping stayed, catching the early morning sun year after year, until the young girl left for college and the old woman left this earth.