The Brooch

Yesterday I was looking for something to spruce up my outfit a little.  It was the annual Carols and Communion service at church, and I wanted to look somewhat “nicer” than usual. 

I was rooting around in my jewellry box and came across a white brooch.   Instantly I was back in time, to an era when my British grandmother used to twirl my 7-year-old hair gently into ringlets with wet rags before bedtime.  In the morning I would wake up and untwirl the fabric, feeling like a princess.  She wasn’t able to visit often, her home was a farmhouse in the English countryside, and my home was in the suburbs of Toronto.  But we had a connection, her and I, that spanned countries and generations. 

I remember her letters, I remember her smile, I reemember her soul.  And I remember the brooch.  I have two of them.  Another she gave me just before she got on a plane bound for her homeland.  I told her that her brooch was pretty and sparkly, then she pulled it off her coat, bent down to my level and placed the treasure in my little-girl hand. 

This Christmas season I remember my Grandmother.  Her name was Edith.  She raised two boys in a centuries-old farmhouse called Denby Hill Farm in Oakworth, West Yorkshire.  She washed her clothes by hand, and did her dishes under a window that saw the cows walk by twice a day for milking.  Her life was not easy, but her faith in God was strong. 

I can imagine her looking out over the moors, the wind in her white curls, finding strength for the days ahead.  Maybe that particular day was a Sunday.  Maybe she’d found something extra-special to wear to church when she looked in her jewellry box that morning. 

And maybe, just maybe, it was a white brooch.


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