Monday, October 31, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Love Spoons: A Recollection of Love
Ten years ago my great grandmother, known to everyone as Mother, passed away. It’s fair to say I idolized this woman. She endured hardships that I can only imagine (and pray never happen to me). One being that my lumberjack great grandfather at the ripe old age of 40 (I say this tongue in cheek...as I am now forty) was crushed by a log roll. Dozens of huge pine trees rolled from the supposedly secure moorings, right on top of him. But my kinsmen are hardy folk. My grandfather survived this, albeit unable to move the lower part of his body.
Image courtesy of Google Images
The lumber company wasn’t required to pay for my grandfather’s injuries. Unable to work, the company simply let him go.
With four hungry children, my grandmother did what any woman would do...she went to work. She spent the days working and the nights looking after my grandfather. An image of my grandmother coming in from the fields, tired and worn, picking my grandfather up (yes, I come from genetically strong women) and carrying him to the dinner table is still etched into my memory. She’d then carry him to the bathroom where she would carefully bathe him, help him relieve himself, and then carry him to bed.
Not once in all the years I can remember did my grandmother complain. Not once.
She loved my grandfather with more love than I’ll ever know. And she loved me too. I know these things. I know just because. But I’m fortunate, I also know because of the gift she left for me...a gift my grandfather gave to her before they were married...a token of his love and commitment...a Welsh love spoon.
When my grandmother passed I didn’t understand the meaning of this small, un-useable spoon. I knew my grandfather was Welsh, but knew little of his past except what I’ve imparted to you today. It wasn’t until a friend of mine, returning from a trip abroad, presented me with another spoon and an informational postcard that I was able to piece together the meaning behind this spoon...and just how sentimentally valuable the gift of it was.
A simple love spoon from The Love Spoon Gallery American Pewter Love Spoons
www.lovespoons.co.uk Image courtesy of Google Images
Love spoons, not only from Wales but also from Germany and northern Europe, are indeed tokens of love and commitment, dating back to the early 1600. Originally, these wooden tokens were used as their namesake suggests, as spoons, but over the centuries they have taken on a more decorative purpose, showcasing not only the romance between the couple, but also the skill and mastery of the carver. Each love spoon is distinct with varying symbols depicting the carver’s romantic ideology.
Love Spoon Symbols
Anchor-A settled love Eternal devotion
Bell-Together in harmony; Wedding
Ball In A Cage-Love held safe
Birds-New birth; Love birds
Chain-Together forever; Number of children; Lives intertwined
Comma/s-Great affection; Soul mates
Double Spoons-Happy, loving couple
Heart-Love; ‘My heart is yours’
Key/s-To one’s heart
Keyhole-‘I shall look after you’
Spade-Willingness to work hard
Twisted Stem-Together as one
Wheel-Steer a safe course through life
My mother explained that before my grandmother passed she was instructed to give the pin to me and explain its meaning, but as broken with sadness as we all were, the explanation was lost...until now...
A Welsh immigrant and a half-breed American Indian girl were never supposed to meet, let alone marry, but they did. They loved each other instantly and deeply. After a short courtship, my grandfather presented my grandmother with this spoon to signify his lifelong love and commitment.
At its pinnacle is a small cross atop two key holes surrounded by commas. Prominently displayed next is a single heart surrounded by knotted forget-me-nots. Along a long shaft is another single heart that surmounts the spaded spoon bowl.
By giving this spoon to my grandmother, my grandfather was asking God’s blessing to marry his twin soul and promising to look after her. He offered her his heart and asked that she always remember him, believing that love and a willingness to work hard would see them through their marriage.
How apropos those symbols my grandfather couldn’t have known at the time, but he most certainly did at the end. When he passed just a few years before my grandmother, she was there holding his hand. He looked after her for the first half of their lives and she him at the last. They worked hard, never forgetting their love. They looked after one another always. And I believe God blessed them every day of their lives.
I have a lovely Welsh love spoon from the talented carvers at The Love Spoon Gallery ( www.lovespoons.co.uk ) to give away to one lucky commenter. If you could carve a love spoon for your significant other (or if you’re single, future significant other) what symbols would it depict and why? Please remember to check back on Monday, 31st October here in the comments of this blog to see if you’re the random winner!
To: Mother and Grum’pa
With all my love-always and everywhere.