Marj, a 99-year-old friend, motioned to me from her wheelchair before church to come here. “I have something for you,” she said, her speech still slurred from a stroke a few years back. She handed me a Bayer aspirin box. “You can wait to look at it until you get home.”
I left church that day and didn’t once think of the aspirin box gift until the next Sunday morning as I made sure I had all my things in my church bag. My Bible. Check. Sunday school lesson notes? Check.
Wait. What’s this box? That’s when I remembered. I opened the box and took out two slips of typewritten paper and something wrapped in a tissue cocoon. I opened the tissue and saw a silver charm bracelet. I gasped, knowing instantly what it was.
When I was a little girl over fifty years ago, I used to play with that very charm bracelet during church as it hung on the arm of a much younger Marj. My favorite charm was a tiny typewriter whose keyboard moved up and down when I pressed it. I’d tear off the corner of my church bulletin and feed it into the roller and pretend to type.
I unfolded the paper that came in the box.
After you see how many charms are crowding your Typewriter, you may not want the bracelet. If so, I will not be hurt. HOWEVER…..it is yours if you would like to have it. You may do whatever you’d like. Remove some charms if you desire…whatever. At 99 I will not be wearing it or even going charm by charm, like a rosary!!!! I will be pleased if the little girl in the country church was fascinated with it. I always have warm and happy memories of the McQuinn family. Love you all lots…
Happy days for you!
P.S. I relize that there are errors but I can’t use left hand to find keys and pay attention to errors. One of the blessings of old age…people more willing to forgive mistakes…USUALLY!!!
The little McQuinn girl in the country church was me as a tot in a little rural church in Indiana where we both lived. When we moved to Illinois, Marj and her husband, Don, came to visit a few times. As an elementary school girl I still played with that charm bracelet and looked to see what new charms Marj had added. Later, I sat by Marj at church conferences. I looked through her charms, feeling loved and a sense of belonging whenever she smiled at me fingering her bracelet.
These are some of my early church memories. Little did I know that when I moved to Arizona with my family at the age of ten, that Marj and I would end up in the same church again when she and Don retired out here.
And now I held her beloved charm bracelet, felt the weight of it in my palm. I unfolded the other piece of paper and found Marj had made a list of the charms and the significance behind each one. It was like pieces of her life dangling from that short chain.
I’ll always cherish that bracelet and especially the lady who gave it to me. But just as much, I’ll hold dear the memories of being a child in church and feeling a part of the body of Christ because of Marj’s simple acts of love.
Holy moments, holy beginnings in the formation of my spiritual life. I’m forever grateful to Marj and her charm bracelet.