Where Your Treasures Are
Stocks. Bonds. Diamonds. Real estate. These are the treasures we think about as adults. Too bad. The real treasures of our life are much simpler things. Love. Family. Friendship. And maybe even a snail or two.
We have to go way back to childhood to find the treasures that made us feel really rich. Remember walking along the ditches beside country roads, hunting for snails? We though they were “sea shells.” When we came home with our pockets filled with those treasures, Mama reacted with horror. She made us clean every last one out of our pockets. We felt sorry she didn’t appreciate their worth, but at least we had beautiful “sea shells” for a while.
If we were lucky, the creek overflowed after heavy spring rains, allowing minnows to swim into nearby weed-filled ditches. Wading in those ditches was ever so much more fun when we had minnows for company. They nibbled at our toes, if we stood still long enough. What a treasure they were - real live fish, right there in our ditches.
Only a child growing up on a farm could appreciate the bounty of kittens, a few weeks old, ready to tame, in the cow barn. What a treasure they were - one cuter than the other. We’d already tamed the mother cats enough that they didn’t mind us playing with their fat and fuzzy babies. We’d each claim one particular kitten for our own before the rest died of distemper or disappeared mysteriously.
Plants growing around the farm and fields also yielded up their treasure. We gathered rose hips and fat weed stems, which looked like celery to us, and seeds and leaves to “can.” We found discarded jars in the trash behind the tool shed and packed them with our produce. Then, to keep them “fresh,” my little sister and I decided to store them in the stock tank. Naturally, that didn’t go over very well with our father. The minute he found the jars in the tank, he made us remove them. But we’d had the fun of “canning,” so we just tossed the jars, still filled, back on the trash pile and went on to our next adventure.
Hardly anything equals snow as a treasure to a child. You can slide on it, throw it, make forts with it, and even eat it. It’s really “all-purpose” stuff. We loved it. The fact that its arrival sometimes meant a day off from school only added to its appeal. And when it melted down into water and then froze into ice, we knew we were in for a great time skating, even though we had no ice skates. Rubber boots worked just as well.
Treasures - their worth depends entirely upon the person treasuring them. The older I get, the more precious are the treasures associated with being a child. Maybe memories are, after all, the greatest treasures for us to enjoy.