Monday, 14 November 2016
Of mice and Mum
My mother has always drawn mice; not the anatomically correct, scrabble footed, twitch eared images from the pages of a nature book ; but stroke of a pencil, pointy nosed, whip tail squiggles on paper scraps and the back of envelopes..
An enduring image from childhood, they peeped from the pages of home made books to remind us when to sit 'quiet as mice' on unyielding church pews during Sunday service.
My father would find uniquely mousey gifts to bring back home from across the seas; my childhood favourite being a gilded green bellied brooch with fiery red eyes and an articulated tail, that we would beg to have pinned on our warm woolly jumpers. My mother would willingly oblige..... until the day it was taken to the jewellers where she discovered it was, in reality, far more precious than we had all believed it to be; not just paste and glass after all! After that, it was assigned to the jewellery box to be worn only on high days and holidays.
Over the years mice of every shape, design and texture arrived in the guise of birthday , Christmas and Valentine gifts; slowly jumbling the shelves of the corner cabinet we named 'the glory hole'. They were an eclectic collection; treasured by stubby fingered wide eyed grandsons who were granted leave to touch and explore just as long as each mouse was returned to its allotted place.
This weekend marked the first anniversary of my father's death. A bitter sweet time to gather as a family and celebrate his life. I would have taken flowers to arrange in vases and brighten each room; but then I saw these pink nosed, beady eyed felted marvels; dressed in the colours of our childhood, just begging to be set free from the dusty confines of a forgotten bargain bin. They seemed such a fitting gift somehow, and I have the strangest of feelings that my father would have thoroughly approved.