Listen To The Memento [on DR Thursday]

Stop for moment and look around your house. How many of the objects that populate your shelves and walls are mementos? Keepsakes from travels or special events? I’m always struck, after a devastating fire or tornado, how often I watch people sifting through the rubble of their home to find a photograph or a special ring. There is the shock of losing the home, but the stories! What will happen with the loss of the reminder, the things that carry the story?

Last week, after the night we thought there was a fire in our walls, we talked about our race to get out of the house, and the question of “What do we grab and take?” The dog. The special papers. The computers. A few clothes. Those “items” fall into two categories: what you love (the dog. each other) and what we need to start again (special papers, the computers, a change of clothes). Although losing the passports and birth certificates would be difficult to replace, the first category is really all you need.

I’m certain, because our experience was so recent, I want to sob watching the news footage of families fleeing their homes in Ukraine. What do you grab and take when yesterday you went to work and today you are fleeing bombs and war? Where do you go? We have friends a few minutes away who would have taken us in and helped us back on our feet. When fleeing is the destination…where do you go?

The sun was bright through the cold on the day we pushed LittleBabyScion down the driveway so we could get Big Red out and onto the street. At first, she thought she found a wedding ring poking out of the snow. One of the men who worked so hard to replace our water line must have lost it. But then, we realized it was a brass fitting. We brought it in house. Someday, when the trench has settled, the front yard has grass again, when we feel comfortable leaving the television plugged in, and the house is restored to order, the ring will serve as a memento to remind us of the upheaval.

Yesterday I held the ring for a moment and I wondered why we – humans – build memorials to war that carry messages chiseled in stone, “Never again…” or “Remember…”, sentiments that are meant to remind us that murdering each other for resource or political gain actually achieves nothing but pain and the erection of yet another stone and steel memento – it’s a flip of priority – as if the special papers and computers have more importance than the people. The people become expendable. Where do you flee in the face of such madness?

read Kerri’s blog post about THE RING

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