On the first Sunday of every month, Sian of From High in the Sky hosts "Storytelling Sunday," a chance for bloggers to tell some tales and spin some yarns. For 2013, she has invited participants to "pick their precious" and tell the story behind a precious object. For March, she suggested something Irish. And I have just the thing or two to talk about!
I love jewelry. I always have. And when I travel (as I am wont to do), I try to pick up a special piece for my collection. In 2001, on our first trip to Ireland, I wandered down the cobbled part of Grafton Street, closed off to cars and a joy pedestrians. I stuck my nose into Fields Jewellers and looked at every piece of jewelry that had an Irish feel to it. We were staying in Dublin, on the Trinity College campus, and Grafton Street was just a hop, skip and a jump from our apartment in the student dorms. It was our first trip abroad as a family, and I loved exposing our children to the world (we returned to Ireland twice for similar academic summer abroad programs and also taught in programs in Prague and Budapest). Over the next few weeks, I visited Fields over and over, thinking about what I wanted to buy. Eventually, I bought five pieces: a child's bracelet for Clara (who was 3 at the time); a sterling silver cuff bracelet (which I wore for years and then gave to our Goddaughter on her 16th birthday with an invitation to go to Ireland with us on our next trip); a pair of silver Celtic knot earrings; a light and (relatively) inexpensive sterling silver Celtic cross necklace; and this gold Celtic cross pictured above. In the last dozen years, I have worn the cross most days. I love its simplicity, its length and the feel of it around my neck. In Christopher Moore's awesome novel, A Dirty Job, he suggests that every human being has a "soul object," a tangible object where their immortal soul is transferred upon death. The novel's protagonist is in charge of collecting these and making sure that deserving souls make it to heaven. When our book group discussed the book, I asked everyone what they thought their "soul object" might be. And, for myself, I chose this necklace. Because it encompasses my faith and reminds me of all the travel we have undertaken as a family and because I wear it almost every single day. It's definitely precious, and I hope that, someday (a long time from now) one of my children will cherish this necklace as a piece of heirloom jewelry.
Much like I cherish this piece:
My father bought this gorgeous gold necklace for my mother on Mother's Day in 1972. The back includes a quote from Washington Irving, "The love of a mother is never exhausted, it never changes, it never tires." I was thrilled to inherit it from my mom. I think she left it to me because I was the only one of her three daughters who became a mother. I wear it on those days when I feel like I need her strength to bolster me.
I will end this (very long) Storytelling post with one more Irish piece:
I love this Claddagh ring which I inherited from my Aunt Vera and Uncle Nano. The design of the ring symbolizes love, friendship, and loyalty and originated in the village of Claddagh, just outside of Galway (one of our very favorite places in Ireland). I'm not 100% sure of the story behind the ring I have, but it is special in a couple of ways. First, it is made out of rose gold which gives it a beautiful and unusual color. Second, it is fairly heavy and thick. It almost has the feel of a man's ring My Uncle Nano was a Houston, Texas jeweler of some note, and every piece I inherited from him is of the highest quality. I love wearing my Claddagh ring and (secretly) enjoy the fact that I'm not sure of its back story. It allows my mind to wander and weave all kinds of tales . . . which I'm sure every storyteller in Ireland would appreciate!
For more stories (Irish and otherwise), please check out Sian's linky here.