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Last weekend my children and their families joined us in a trip to Idaho to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday. After the picnic lunch, my group gathered at my folks to visit. While there dad asked my daughter to get a vase from a corner curio. From where I sat I could only see parts of two different vases and wondered which held a story I didn’t know.

“I know which one you mean,” my daughter said. She reached in and pulled out a vase that I hadn’t seen. It didn’t seem to coordinate with the other items in the curio. It was deep blue glass with black zebra-like lines creating something of a chevron pattern around the circumference.

She handed it to him and he asked, “So you know the story of this vase?” She had spent a summer with my parents when they lived in a mountain town of Idaho and had heard most of his stories. She said she remembered parts, but encouraged him to tell it again.

In 1994-96 my parents were in Hartford, Connecticut on a mission for our church. While there, they became friends with a lady who had come from Jamaica. She had two beautiful blue vases that my dad expressed admiration for. She told how she had bought them in Jamaica and how sometimes she danced around her living room while holding the vases because they reminded her of her island home. Jamaica, in the Caribbean, is known as “the land of wood and water.” The vase had the look of stormy waters and I could understand her connection.  

Her children had broken one of the vases while they were playing and the remaining vase gained in value. But one day she took it from the shelf and gave it to my father as a gift. He declined, but she insisted. He keeps the vase as a treasure and on the bottom he wrote the vase’s history: from Taiwan (manufactured there) to Jamaica, to Connecticut, to Idaho. But above that he inscribed: “The Widow’s Mite.”

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