In the corner of my lounge room sits a jardiniere. She is a grand old beauty however her age is beginning to show.
Once she contained ferns and other indoor house plants and lived on the top of a silky oak planter stand by the window in my grandmother’s lounge room. Before that, she belonged to my great-grandmother and lived in her family home.
I have more than likely insulted her with the plastic ivy and wooden tulips that grace her insides now however she is aging and her strength is not what it used to be. Plastic ivy it will have to be.
See that crack on her side? It is only a small part of the further damage around the back that is now disguised by the wall. She has been repaired many times over the years as the glue deteriorates and crumbles no longer holding her together like it should.
Of course if it hadn’t been for David, she would never have required the use of glue in the first place. She had watched David grow over the years as he came to visit his grandmother but when he and Suzanne moved in to live there, she watched him every day.
He was a rascal. Always teasing his sister and getting up to mischief.
But she had seen his good side as well.
Like the times he and Suzanne sneaked out of bed and set the table ready for breakfast as a ‘surprise’ for Granny. She and Granny were both aware that those two could never do anything quietly but Granny acted surprised and pleased when she ‘woke up’ and got out of bed.
Then came the day that the two of them were clowning around in the lounge room. Their grandmother chastised them and told them to stop but her warning came too late. The old (she was already old by then) jardiniere had come crashing to the ground.
Granny was rarely furious but she was this time.
She yelled at the children (particularly David because he had started it all) and punished them for being careless. Bundling the pieces together, she took the jardiniere under the house and sat it down on her mother’s old commode (of all places) until she could repair it.
David was heart-broken that he had upset his Granny.
At that time he and I received 50 cents each week in pocket money. David began saving his pocket money until he had enough to walk to the corner store and purchase some Super Glue. He spent hours under the house one afternoon repairing the old jardiniere before carefully carrying her up the stairs and into the house to present to his beloved Granny.
Many years later after David’s death, Granny told the story of the time she had punished her grandson for his youthful energy and how he had made up for his mistake and cherished the jardiniere even more because of this.
When the day came that Granny needed to move to supported accommodation, the old girl came to live with the other trouble maker from that day. She has been moved around many times over the years and has lived in a number of homes. She has been re-repaired a number of times as well as the glue deteriorates but she knows that she is a little bit of history.
She tells the story of my great grandmother, my grandmother, my childhood and my brother.
Today it has been 21 years since David rolled his semi down an embankment in the early morning light. I still have little reminders of him and our shared childhood here and there but each night as I sit on the couch, I see the jardiniere.
She is an aging beauty. To be honest I’m not sure exactly how old she really is but does it really matter when there is so many memories tied in with her?
She is broken.
She is beautiful.
She reminds me each and every day of those I have loved and lost.
And so today as I recall the good (and bad) times spent with my little brother I remember the little boy who really loved his family and would do anything for them. I remember the man who later had a family of his own that he adored. A family that grew up without him.
I have been blessed in my life to be surrounded by good men.
It’s just so sad that I have had to say goodbye to them so soon.