By Reba Phelps
Every family has precious treasures that represent love and remind us of childhood days gone by. Whether you were cooking with your mother or grandmothers, working in a shop with your dad or simply playing summertime games with siblings or cousins. We all have tangible items or memories that remind us of our family.
For some families, some of those tangible items may include mineral rights and oil wells. It may include expensive property or enough stocks and bonds that will help put a child through college. It could be a family farm with lots of equipment and equity. Those treasures could possibly be artwork, family jewels or fine china.
Being raised by a father that was a preacher who was paid a modest salary and by a mother who stayed at home after an early retirement and having two siblings left very little money to purchase the heirlooms that one may leave behind.
Our family treasures looked very different from the episodes of Dallas that we used to watch on a rented television.
Every night we cooked and ate dinner as a family. My children never believe me when I tell them that when we did eat Chef Boyardee it was heated in a pot because we did not own a microwave. The plates we ate off of were hand-me-downs from a relative when my parents wed in the early 70’s. My mother was always embarrassed about her mismatched silverware and dollar store plates but we never put much thought into the dishes as long they had food on them.
At this point you may be asking yourself where did the family treasures come in.
With very single meal that was served at our family’s house there was a race to the mismatched silverware drawer to see who could get to the only wooden handle fork that we owned first. It was an older, rustic and very random fork that was very inexpensive and nondescript except for the wooden handle. My parents knew that the only allure it held was the fact it was the one and only one that we owned.
They had three children and one wooden fork.
I cannot be certain, but I can only assume that there was possible blood shed over this fork. This fork held special powers that were only visible to its holder.
Over the years, once everyone started leaving home and having families of their own our parents bought matching dishes and silverware. This fork took on a different meaning. It was then introduced to our children. They were not near as fascinated as we were.
As adults we would still have friendly fights over the fork that were refereed by our mother. We would also reminisce about our glory days and all of our altercations over this family treasure. These stories never got old.
When our mother passed away, my siblings and I assisted my dad with all of the necessary thing that must be done. It was a very simple process to divvy up her belongings. Aside from some jewelry accumulated later in life, there was very little of monetary value. There were ancient family photos, cookbooks and dishes. But, none of her belongings had serial numbers or appraisals. She left here with not much more than she came with. But she and our father taught us the most important lesson in life. True happiness cannot be found in things. They can provide a temporary high but the long-lasting, peaceful, and true happiness comes not from tangible items but from above.
Thankfully my mother chose to build her treasures in heaven and not on earth.
Would it be in bad form to use this platform as an official notice to my siblings that I now have the fork and it is resting peacefully alongside my mismatched silverware?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”