Oh the memories conjured by antiques! Their uniqueness strengthens the reminiscence. Take, for example, this antique, 19th-century English porcelain wall pocket in the shape of a slipper orchid. I see it and off I go, tumbling back into memories.
In my early twenties I started growing orchids. Still living at home with my dad, my plants took over the dining room. Growing lights and humidity trays, my dad really didn't mind. The dining room had neither a recliner and TV nor a desk and his papers- his life dominated by his work or his relaxation in his comfy chair.
But orchid survival is rather incompatible with the wandering spirit of a twenty-something.
One fine day, bright and sunny, I packed up my car and moved to Boston. No forewarning for my dad or for myself- a whim that took me on another adventure. Had I been older, wiser, and more considerate I would have spared some effort for my orchids and tried to find them homes. Instead, I abandoned them to my father's care... I abandoned them to their fates.
A year and a half later and I was ready to come back home. I smiled when I saw the Minneapolis skyline, admiring its lovely, compact symmetry. After driving halfway across the country I was ready to rest and be home again. I gave my dad a call to tell him I was almost there- no more than twenty minutes. Wonderful, he said, and wait till you see them- your orchids! I was going to let it be a surprise, but your brother has been taking great care of them!
Hmmm.... I was puzzled.
My younger brother tending to my orchids?
My younger brother: orchid caregiver?
Here's the reveal: Me, standing in the doorway to the dining room, surveying the scene. An annihilation of orchids. Every orchid gone, long gone. Dried out, desiccated... ashes to ashes and leaves turned to dust. But in the midst of the Orchidaceae destruction, underneath the grow lights, was a massive, truly massive marijuana plant.
Oh, dad! There are days I miss you so much. I didn't quite appreciate your absentminded strangeness when I was younger. But how you make me smile and laugh when I see that porcelain orchid and think of you.