I do love estate sales and am particularly drawn to displays of glassware.
A few of my favorite things once belonged to someone else: cobalt blue water goblets, long stemmed black water goblets, a set of Old Holland dinner ware trimmed in 22 karat gold. I bring things home wondering about the lady who once owned and enjoyed them before me.
I went to an estate sale on Sunday. First time I ever cried at one!
As I walked, bumper to bumper with people, I thought about the times I sat in that living room on that white sofa. I thought about the times I rode my bike to this house and sat at the kitchen table with the lady of it. I thought about the times she made me laugh.
So, so many times.
This estate sale was on Chestnut Street in Grand Forks – the home of my dear friend, Arlene McDougall, who died in January after a short illness. Arlene, a bonder, had many close friends and I was blessed to be one of them. Every one of us mourned with her the loss of her beloved son, Doug, when he died of ALS in 2011.
After Tom died, Arlene’s husband of more than 50 years, I took a road trip to Omaha with her when her second son, the Rev. Dan McDougall, marked 25 years in the ministry.
You can cover a lot of conversational ground on a thousand mile round trip by car. I shared things with Arlene and she with me that were never spoken again.
When my mother was in a nursing home for three years in Minot, N.D., I visited her at least once a month. On each trip, as I reached the outskirts of Grand Forks, I’d dial up Arlene. When she answered I’d say, “This is Filly Nelson and I’m on the road again.” We chatted until I reached Devils Lake.
I met Arlene when we moved here 37 years ago. I saw her faith in action as she and Tom were among those who first welcomed us to Immanuel Lutheran Church. Arlene sang alto in our choir and without fail every week at practice she turned around to wink or flash one of her beautiful smiles at me in the soprano row.
So it was, at Arlene’s funeral when the choir sang, “Shepherd’s Psalm,” we draped her choir robe and stole on her chair for she was with us in spirit.
Sunday as I meandered through Arlene’s home, I was reminded of her trademark words: faith, family, friends, live, laugh, love. They are printed on three decorative suitcases/boxes now gracing my home.
So is a beautiful jewelry chest with music box. You’ll notice that the bottom drawer of the jewelry box is open. When it is, it plays, “Somewhere My Love.”
I’m listening and remembering . . . . . . .
I don’t have to wonder about this lady whose things I now treasure. I knew her. I just loved her. I miss her.