Saturday, 4 January 2014

Red Rose Animals by Susan L.

  Early in December a friend and I went to a couple of local antique markets for a wander around. In several booths there were examples of the little glass figurines that used to be included in a box of Red Rose Tea. Technically they aren't antique. I am not that old but they are considered collectables.     
  When I was little I had fairly extensive collection of them, my own glass menagerie, kept safely in the iconic purple velvet bag courtesy of Crown Royal scotch. Both bag and collection were lost during a move a long time ago. Seeing the odd example of them in the market reminded me of how much pleasure they had brought to my childhood. My mom mundanely opening a new box of tea was cause for excitement and celebration.
  I'd sit at the dining room table with my assortment of tiny animals ranging from butterflies to fish to golden retrievers and a giraffe. The harvest gold tablecloth became a place of the most wonderful adventures: an exotic golden ocean or windswept desert sands. Books became mountains as fierce and as formidable as the Andes or a church for them to attend on a Sunday. Other books doubled as rafts for the survivors of shipwrecks or floods. An imagined Noah sometimes made an appearance in that scenario. The rafts would wash up on book islands filled with other exotic creatures.
  There were tales of terrible danger and heroic rescues. Odd friendships would spring up between the most unlikely characters like an otter, a kitten and a hedgehog whose own story would help fill a rainy afternoon.
  I remember my disappointment when the animal figures were replaced by nursery rhyme characters. Humpty Dumpty, crooked houses and shoe dwelling old women had no place in my own stories.
  My friend gave me a generous collection of these figures this Christmas after I shared some of this with her. She had found some bags filled with these little creations tucked away somewhere in the market. In her gift are some old, familiar faces and some new ones like a gorilla and squirrel. They sit on the ledge of my kitchen window and as I look at them, I am transported through the years to the happy times of the Tablecloth Tales.
  Possibly, just possibly, there may be more stories hidden within them still.
  "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." 2 Cor 4;7

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