By Joe Rector

Around our family, we treasure our heirloom. Well, at least Amy and I do. The children aren’t so sure about those things. Pieces of furniture that our parents used during our childhood are special to us, but many of those things just don’t suit the taste of Lacey or Dallas. Still, they will at some point have the task of going through those items in our home and deciding their fates. Many items will find new homes and possibly become heirlooms for new families. The two adult children do have some special things in our home that aren’t of value to anyone else in the world.

Dallas’ car needs some work, so I followed him to Charlie Muncey’s house. Charlie has worked on our cars since 1981 and can fix most any problem. My son was carless, so I loaned him my 1987 Pathfinder. He left our house with a big smile, and he’s forever bragging about that car. I don’t blame him though; that car is the one he grew up in. We traveled to all his ball games and a vacation in the old Pathfinder. I’ve tried to give the car to him, but he’s not sure that he can pay the general upkeep on a second car. Still, that car is an heirloom that will be left to him.

When my mother passed, our family assembled, and we three boys and their wives decided who would take things from the house. The three women looked at her jewelry and picked a few items. Pieces of furniture and iron skillets were chosen. During the entire process, no one ever argued, and I don’t think anyone left with hurt feelings.

A big, round kitchen table sat in Mother’s kitchen for years. All meals and thousands of people have sat at that table and enjoyed good food and fellowship. That table was left to me, but because we didn’t have enough room for it, I let my older brother Dal and his wife Brenda use it. Over the years, they brought four children into their home, and now a passel of grandchildren has eaten meals at that table. Lacey has asked for the table when the time comes, and I have indicated to Brenda of that. She said one of her children wanted it, but I told her Lacey has first claim. She will be the third or fourth generation to use the table. I’m thrilled that she wants it and that Madden will be the next generation to eat at it.

I’m not one for tattoos, especially knowing what they’d look like on me at this late stage. My daughter Lacey and niece Mindy found some samples of Mother’s writing. They copied the capital letter “R” that she’d penned and had it tattooed on the inside of their wrists. Her hand-written notes and cards were heirlooms to them, so they had those permanent “Rs” to remind them of their grandmother.

Amy’s Aunt Mildred took a ceramics class years ago. She must have made several items, but the one she liked best was a white cat. The animal is lying on its stomach and stretches maybe 30 inches. My two children love that ceramic cat, and they’ve argued in a kidding manner for several years about which one would inherit the thing. We’ve told them to put pieces of tape on the bottoms of any items that they want, and both have covered the other’s name with theirs. Lacey also placed a post-a-note on the cat’s ear. Amy has several pieces of cut glass from her mother, and I suppose some of the stuff is worth at least of little money. Neither child is interested in the stuff, but they battle for sole possession of a ceramic cat. Go figure!

The lesson in all of this is that the most precious things to us aren’t the ones that cost the most. Instead, an old car that probably isn’t worth $1000 is loved by my son. Some pieces of jewelry that Amy’s mother owned are meaningful to Lacey. The value of most favorite things is determined by the memories that they bring to us as older adults.