By Ralphine Major

She handed me a tiny box with my name on it.  When I lifted the lid to see the gift inside, it was a beautiful ornament.  I held it up by the red velvet ribbon hanger; its sparkles reminded me of a glistening,  new-fallen snow.  At a glance, I could see that the ornament was unusual.  A closer look revealed that the delicate gift was customized just for me.

The montage—newspaper snippets all bonded together over a glass ball—gave the ornament its unique design.  There were words and names and phrases I recognized.  I saw my name, The Knoxville FOCUS, and 2014.  The strips of print were random pieces from my columns this year.

Handmade gifts that are crafted by human hands have always been special.  When giving our time and talent to create a personalized gift, we give a part of ourselves in each layer of shellac or each clipping that is pasted onto the ordinary to transform it into a piece of art.  As part of the Focus staff, Rose often serves as a connection to the editor when I submit manuscripts for publication.  Her kindness and calm demeanor has meant so much to me when trying to meet deadlines or solve a problem.  Thank you, Rose, for creating a keepsake that I will treasure always!