Some of you may know that my sister Fran is an artist. Although she paints landscapes most of the time, she is intrigued with the human body and have asked several of us in the family to be models at one time or another. Nine years ago when we were staying in a wee cottage in Middlton, Ireland My Mom was taking her bath and Fran decided Mom would make a great model stepping in and out of the bathtub. Mom complied and Fran spent a good hour doing various sketches of Mom's neck, the curve of her spine, a side view, etc. Several months later I was in a potter's shop in Dennis, Massachusetts and spotted this wall hanging and thought, "Wow, just the perfect gift for Mom for Christmas"! I thought it would give her much pleasure and memories of our trip to Ireland.
As we all set around the Tree on Christmas afternoon, I handed Mom the gaily wrapped present. In my mind I was excited because each year at the end of gift unwrapping, we vote on "The Best Gift of the Year". It doesn't have to be the most expensive gift.... nor does it have to be flashy....in fact those kind of gifts never win. The "gift" has to invoke an emotional memory...and this year, I truly believed I had found the gift. In anticipation I watched her undo the bow...then carefully unwrap the paper (Mom saves all wrapping paper). When she opened the box, she just stared and then closed the lid quickly.
"Oh, Bob, where did you get this and what do you want me to do with it?"
Fran quickly injected, "Mom, Ireland....it's Ireland Mom....that day you posed for me. Remember I did the sketches?"
"Me? Pose? I have never posed. Bob, I know you meant well....but I do not want it. It's beautiful but I would not have it hanging in my house! What would people think."
And so this "memory of ours" is in my bathroom and I greet it each dawn and smile and think of a morn in Ireland.