It's funny. I pass by the bowl ten times a day, but I didn't realize it had become invisible to me until I wrote the post about scouting the other day.
I remember where it rested prominently on Hester's headboard-shelf, within easy reach once she was restricted to bed after breaking her hip.
I remember her telling me about how, when she was a little girl, it sat in the middle of the family breakfast table,and how every morning her whole family took turns reaching into the bowl, pulling out one of the colorful pieces of cardstock stamped with a Bible verse, and reading it aloud. What a wonderful tradition, I thought. She would often ask me to reach in, grab a card, and read her the verse, because she had become too blind to read them herself.
The day she gave the bowl to me, I was so surprised and honored! She didn't have kids of her own; obviously she had come to think of us as family.
For awhile, I tried to carry on the tradition of daily readings with my family, but I soon realized those little pieces of cardstock could no longer take that much handling. They were at least 80 years old by then! I taught the kids to handle them gently, and we still read them, but not as a daily routine.
I found a vintage handkerchief to drape over the bowl to keep the dust away from the cards, but time is still taking its toll. They are now so dry and brittle that for some of them just the slightest touch can break it in two.
I have treasured that bowl, well over 100 years old now, knowing how important it was to her, even if there are days I forget about it, just rush past it, back and forth, from one task to another. Every once in awhile, I slow down enough to see it. I tenderly feel around in the bowl and pull out one or two of the colorful cards, squinting to read the now-faded Bible verses (with my now-fading eyesight), and imagine Hester doing the same, day after day, year after year, until that day she entrusted it with me, entrusted us with her memories. Trusted us to remember her.