Gram had a variety of curiosities both in her personality and in her home. She hated chocolate. Can you even imagine? When I was little (and honestly, still) I thought that was the oddest aversion. Who on earth doesn't like chocolate? A small but distinguished group, apparently.
She also loved owls. Big or small, porcelaine or carved wood, realistic or stylized. She had curio cabinets full of them throughout the house and I would stand for hours looking over her collection, discovering new details and delighting in their unique faces.
When my Gram passed away she left me her vast owl collection. It was carefully packed up and stored in the basement of my Mum's house for a time when I would have room to put it all out on display. Sadly, that time did not come quickly enough, and in March of last year the flood waters rose and drowned her precious collection.
I squatted on my Mum's front lawn in freezing cold temperatures, tears rolling down my cheeks as I sorted through sodden boxes, throwing the vast majority of her treasures into a debris pile for the trash collector to haul away. Anything submerged in flood water has been contaminated and should be discarded, but I just could not let go of everything, so I salvaged a few porcelain pieces and set them aside to be disinfected, cleaned up, and brought back to Miami with me.
I think of my Gram every time I'm in the garden... and she was with me today in spirit, admiring her 'beautiful babies', as she used to call her owls.
I'll leave you with something she used to always cheerfully recite to me when I was a little girl:
The more he saw the less he spoke,
The less he spoke the more he heard,
Why aren't we like that wise old bird?