hidden treasure

As some of you may know I recently had the job of emptying my parents’ house before its prospective sale.  Today, the sale became final which leads to feelings of sadness and relief…an interesting combination.  I thought I would feel more relief and less sadness, but alas, per usual, nothing is as I imagined and I am having to process a whole lot of emotional stuff before I can put this whole episode behind me.

One of the things which caught me unawares was the amount of “oooooh, I remember that” as I walked through the house before the estate sale happened.   For the most part, the things in the house were “just stuff”.  But, perhaps because everything had been moved from their usual place, some things popped out at me.  All of a sudden I noticed items like a big doll with black yarn hair that I had as a child, my Brownie handbook (complete with the story about brownies keeping a house clean that I remember after all these years) and various tchotchkes that my mother collected throughout her life.

When my sister and I started the clearing out process back in June, I looked for a specific item, one that I gave to my mother when I was in high school.  It was a hand-carved wooden figure of a peasant woman that I bought in Quebec the year my French Club visited that city.  (ooooh, the beignets that we cooked and sold to raise funds…yummmmm.)  I don’t remember the exact place where I found the carving but I’m sure it was in the old city.  I vaguely recall buying a painting as well…don’t know what happened to that though.  When I got home, I gave my mother the figure and she (of course) loved it.

Anyway, this little figure, all of 5 inches tall, sat by my mother’s stove for over 30 years.  It collected its fair share of sticky grease, and other food spills.  But it didn’t move.  It stuck around, even after my mother died.

So I went looking for it in June, expecting it would still be by the stove.  It wasn’t.  I couldn’t find it anywhere.  There was so much to be done in such a short time that I couldn’t spend all day looking for this one little item.  In my mind I let it go.

Fast forward to August 8.  The estate sale people had pulled everything out of cupboards, drawers and closets and displayed it like the house was one big tag sale.  The books were arranged by subject, the linens and lace were lying together on a bed, and all the little figurines and knickknacks were on the shelves in the hallway.  I just happened to glance at them as I walked by and…you guessed it…there was the carved figure that I had been looking for.  I don’t know where they found it, but I scarfed it up and put it in my pocket while no one was looking. I reclaimed it.

wooden figure
wooden figure

And now…well, she’s in the corner of my kitchen watching all the cooking that is happening.


hiding in the corner
hiding in the corner

Today, it was tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes from my garden.

tonight's meal
tonight’s meal

I’m still trying to find the right place for her, but she will stay in my kitchen until I am no longer around.  And then maybe she will find her way to another kitchen.

side view
side view

15 thoughts on “hidden treasure

  1. I’m so happy that you found your little kitchen watcher. That was a beautiful story with a happy ending. She probably helped you make your best tomato sauce.

    1. I’m glad you liked my story…and the tomato sauce was delicious…not as good as yours though! (And thanks for the tomatoes, I should have given you credit!)

  2. Your kitchen friend is delightful and the markings on her are intriguing. Do you have any idea what the wood is? I am sure she will be very happy to rest a while in your kitchen. And, once she has had time to understand her new home, she will tell you where she needs to be. 😉 Okay, I am being fanciful but, as far as I know, most carvers treat wood with huge respect and in their shaping of the wood they bring out a new form of life from the old. This is from Rumer Godden’s The Dolls’ House, speaking about Tottie, the little wooden farthing doll: “She liked to think sometimes of the tree of whose wood she was made, of its strength and the sap that ran through it and made it bud and put out leaves every spring and summer, that kept it standing through the winter storms and winds. “A little, a very little, of that tree is in me,” said Tottie. “I am a little of that tree.” And, may I have some of that delicious tomato sauce for my supper? It will be just perfect and save me from thinking about what to cook!

      1. The book from which I quoted is a favourite of mine; a children’s book which I love more now than I did as a child. I have a few wooden items in the house but I don’t know the origin of the wood. I did ask the sellers but they didn’t know the English translation. I suspect one of them maybe olive tree wood.

          1. It was a big hit in France (where I’m originally from). It came out around ten years ago if memory serves me right. Cute, quirky film.

  3. Oh, the Poulain part threw me…yes, I’ve seen it but I don’t remember the gnome…time to rent it again and watch it! Maybe someday my French will be good enough to turn off the subtitles. ( I have been working on this since highschool.)

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