My mother was quite possibly the most eccentric woman you would ever meet.
She had long, curly hair, the same color as the warm orange leaves during fall. She was a short woman, but she had the confidence of someone ten feet tall. When someone looked into her deep emerald eyes, they would immediately feel accepted and loved. She was feisty, and would be the first one to tell you where the door was should you have chosen to say some unwise words in her presence.
Despite being a "spit 'n vinegar" kind of gal, she was a kind and caring woman. She went to church every Sunday, dressed in her best clothes. My siblings and I were sure to be right behind her, as we knew that we wouldn't get any dessert that night if we weren't. We would always be at the church for a good half hour longer than everybody else, because mom had to make her rounds and say hello to everybody she knew (which just so happened to be about everyone). We'd overhear her asking Mr. Richards about how his wife was doing and telling Miss Kent to be more careful the next time she went apple picking by herself. She'd then wander over to Mrs. Bradsky and talk about things. Endless, nameless, pointless things. Mrs. Bradsky and my mom were collectors of such things. If you were to take a tour about both their houses, you would find things ranging from grandfather clocks to old comic books.
I had grown up surrounded by plenty of things that my mother collected and deemed worthy of our house. I remember waking up, almost mechanically, to the boom of the huge oak grandfather clock at seven o'clock each morning. I remember getting off of the school bus only to find myself face to face with a huge sign with the words "HOME SWEET HOME" painted in a gaudy and faded burnt orange color. Despite all the things, both good and bad, that my mother brought home, there is one that I remember very distinctly. The wind chimes.
My mother had come home from the market one day with the biggest smile on her face. The whole family was instantly curious, and my siblings and I began to place bets as to why she was so happy. As we all gathered around our dining room table, my mother produced a small box from her bag. Opening the box slowly, to further entice us young ones, my mother finally produced a small set of wind chimes. They were the prettiest wind chimes I had ever seen.
They hung from the ceiling by an old colander, pale blue with designs etched in on the sides. Dangling from this pastel bowl were short strands of rope, woven together with colored beads on the individual strands. Attached to these ropes were silverware: four spoons, two forks, and an old and rusted butter knife. It was the simplest and yet most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I held up the wind chimes to the light, and saw the beams reflect off of a spoon and onto the wall across me. Leaning over my shoulder, my mother whispered to me, "You see? Even the most simplest of things can bring change and beauty into the world. You just have to give it the chance to."
Today is the sixth anniversary of my mother passing away and all I can do is just sit and stare up at those wind chimes. I watch the ropes as they sway in the gentle morning breeze and close my eyes as the utensils, now rusted, clink together in a metallic symphony of silver. I stand up and run my fingers over the grooves in the colander that have now become a familiar reminder of her — my mother. Giving in to the memories, I remember her. I think of her curly, crazy hair; her outstanding confidence matched with her tiny height; her dark emerald eyes, looking past your exterior and into your soul. I think of her uncanny ability to have a conversation with everyone and make every person she talked to feel accepted and loved. Opening my eyes, I can't help but laugh at the character that was my mom. She truly was simple and beautiful and she changed the world around her for the better.
Just like the wind chimes.