Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just an old silver star...

It's just an old silver star, one point is broken and it has a couple of nasty holes from pins used to attach it to the top of the Christmas tree in years past.

It was a Christmas gift to me from a woman who worked at the Bartlet, MacDonald and Gow Department Store in Windsor, Ontario. I was only months old when she gave it to me and it would be years before I appreciated it.

But when I was old enough to notice the handmade silver star, I was quite taken with it. It was so well made. Very nicely crafted with no top, no bottom, and finished on both sides, it had no front or back.

Holding it in my hands was like holding the answer to a riddle: What is silver, has no front and no back but five tops? The Christmas star. When you're four it's an entertaining riddle.

Today Bartlet, MacDonald and Gow is gone. I believe one owner took his own life. My mother related the incident with far more detail but I was young and really didn't want to listen. The details are gone.

I no longer know the name of the woman who made the star and gave it to the little child of a man with whom she worked. Bartlet, MacDonald and Gow closed and the staff dispersed.

My mother, of course, would recall the lady's name if my mother were alive, but she isn't. My father passed on decades ago.

But, the life of the little star goes on. It sits at the top of my Christmas tree, an elastic band holding it tightly to an angel bought by my wife. It doesn't mind sharing the glory. In fact, it lets the angel take centre stage while it plays back-up.

Someday I'll fade away like the Bartlet, MacDonald and Gow owner but I hope without the dramatic flourish; I'll fade away more in the manner of my father, of my mother, and of the lady who made the little silver star.

But I'm going to show Fiona the little star. I'm going to show her how it spins and how it reflects the Christmas tree lights that now adorn our tree; Our tree because it is not just mine but it is also Fiona's and the family's.

Maybe the little star will create memories for Fiona, maybe she will breathe new life into Christmas memories so familiar to me and maybe, just maybe, my little Christmas star will sparkle brightly for years to come, and refuse to fade away.

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