I went to a reception today, remembering a woman who died last week–the mother-in-law of a friend. I’d met her a few times, at birthday parties and such, but I mostly went to be there for my friend, and for my daughter to be there for the woman’s granddaughter (they’ve been friends since birth). Francie lived in the area most of her life, raised her kids here, was active in the community, and there were a lot of friends and neighbors at the reception.

As we walked in, there was a long table covered with necklaces and bracelets–with more bracelets, pins, and packets of earrings in big salad bowls along the way. The instructions were that EVERYONE in attendance–men and women and children–should choose something from Francie’s extensive collection of fun jewelry to wear at the reception and keep as a memento. No polite refusals permitted!

So I helped my daughter choose a bracelet. She ended up with a fine pale green beaded one, with a tiny silver latched box attached–apparently she’s supposed to write or print a tiny prayer (or affirmation or promise), roll it up and store it in the box. I ended up with some clip-on earrings, because that’s what I wear, and I’m like the only person under 70 who does, so I’m always on the lookout. I’ll post a photo of the ones I chose tomorrow (later my friend gave me a few other pairs, figuring I’m the most likely to ever wear them), but for now, think mobile

But the “bling table” had a wonderful effect on the gathering–everyone was wearing a conversation starter, something chosen by, worn by, the person they were remembering. It was charming to see her old-man friends in suits, festooned with a colorful string of beads; or her neighbor ladies wearing distinctive brooches or pendants. While choosing their mementos, strangers would laugh over some of the pieces, and admire others together. Strangers no longer. Francie would have loved that.


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One Response to “Bling”

  1. Julie Says:

    I love this story. It’s heartwarming to think that everyone left with a tangible memory of this friend, and they were all connected by these various “badges” of love for the world to see.

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