Jul. 19th, 2013

value

Jul. 19th, 2013 11:19 am
tenderpaw08: (free userpic from rmv)
Here's a picture of a flower pot.
a plain brown flower pot )

It was given to me years ago by my Grandmother Ruth, probably sometime in the 1980s. It's not much to look at, yet it's held up well and been a serviceable home to a number of plants over the years. It was fairly old when she gave it to me. That speaks to her ability to see the high value inherent in what others would look past in favor of something more decorated, and how we learned not only that yet how to care for things. Sometimes I wonder how many other pots from its maker are still in existence and used. Sometimes I wonder if part of why it is still intact is because it has been cared for and cherished. Despite a plain appearance, it has had a colorful life in several homes. She gifted it to me before moving to the last apartment she had of her own, and that's when she told me of how she got it.

My grandmother grew up in Lancaster county Pennsylvania and had two older brothers and an older sister named Esther. My grandmother was of similar stature to me, which is to say short, and she and her taller sister Esther had very different personalities as well as appearances. She never really felt that she measured up to Esther and had numerous instances of being disfavored in one way or another. Though a sometimes unkind older sibling, Esther regularly made choices mostly in keeping with their mother's interests up to and including becoming a preacher's wife. My grandmother ended up moving away at 18, shortly before the start of the Great Depression, and eventually eloped with a handsome yet soft spoken chemist with a charming Irish brogue (or so I'm told; I never got to meet him). Suffice to say, she spent much of her life with an appreciation for the value of common and even unlovely things, in addition to enjoying things of beauty.

One day as a young girl my grandmother noticed the pot amongst other things for sale and mentioned it to her mother as something she'd like to have. My great grandmother told the person who had it that her daughter was interested in it and was told "Well, if Esther likes it she can have it." When my great grandmother clarified that it wasn't Esther who had the interest, the reply was "Oh. Well, ten cents then." Ten cents wasn't cheap around a hundred years ago when this transpired, yet was fair enough that it was somewhat grudgingly purchased for Ruth. Some comment was made that she was worth it. There was a stronger message in there for her about how others valued her, and she made a point of telling me that I was of much higher value than a ten cent pot when she gave it to me.

There is nothing readily remarkable about the pot itself. It isn't perfectly smooth and the glazing seems to have worn off in a couple of places. There is no maker's mark to link it to someone famous. It's a pot that holds dirt well. It's durable. It fills its purpose and does not compete for beauty with anything that grows within it. The person who sold it was willing to give it away yet wanted to get as much as possible under the circumstances; I somewhat doubt if I could even get a dollar for it at a yard sale now. It's not for sale though, because it is a worthy pot and I am proud to have it.

Now I'm going to go give it a new life to nurture.

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tenderpaw08

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