I tell you, I’m flying.
OK, it started simply. I wanted to find the old ornaments I got as my share of Mom’s stash after she died. They’re beautiful and as old as I am, or nearly so, and I had wanted them for the tree. They were all stashed together in a little red tub. Red for Christmas, you understand.
In one of my cleaning frenzies, I’d stashed my little red tub where I’d always remember and where it would be safe — the black hole.
As I looked through tub after tub, I accidentally knocked the yellow top off a black tub I’d not looked into for a long, long time. To me, that yellow top said Iowa, and I’d stashed all the wonderful things I wanted to keep but had no use for in the Iowa tub years ago. It wasn’t full, so I used it for other things, too — the things I wanted to keep safe.
Most of those things I wanted to keep safe happened to be Christmas gifts I never gave, likely because I’d put them away and forgotten them.
So there I am, Christmas gone and with enough gifts falling at my feet to give to half the people I know. And the gift bags — I’ve got gift bags coming out my ears, where I don’t need them. And I don’t need them on my ears because I also found two — count ’em, two — gold star stud earrings.
Back in 1983, my then 10-year-old daughter shamed me into getting my ears pierced. It wouldn’t hurt, she said. So, there I sat on a stool and let some maniacal salesman — yes, MAN — come at me with a dart gun.
“Now, this shouldn’t hurt at all,” he said.
Of course he didn’t think it would hurt; he was on the trigger end.
At that time I actually carried a purse, a nice brown leather purse. When that first dart tore through my ear lobe, I twisted that purse so badly, I left a scar on the outside of it. Only Dana holding my shoulders kept me in the seat for the second blast. Well, that and the fact that I had always wanted gold stars in my ears, and he had gold star studs among his collection of earrings.
I always thought if I had my ears pierced, they would turn acidic and peel away or would turn black and fall off. But they didn’t, and I went for years before I even took out the earrings. And I didn’t do it then. One day my friend Paulette stood up beside me, said “that’s enough” and pulled the stars out of my ears before I knew what she was doing. She stuck, in their place, some cute little flower earrings that fell apart in two weeks. I put the stars back in, and for more than 20 years seldom removed them.
Truth be told, I was afraid it would hurt to take them out and put them back in. I don’t like pain.
Anyway, I lost one of my stars and had to take the other out. I put it in a special container. I remember the day I stepped on a star earring and without thinking picked it up and stuck it into the special container until I could find the earring I’d lost. That’s been two, three years ago now.
You guessed it. Both of them were in that special container in the black hole. And each of them had its own little clasp attached. It was downright spooky.
Falling into this black hole has given me hope that everything else I’ve put in special keeping will some day find a way back into my hands. I can always hope.
So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or smickelson@