It all started with a painting.
I spent many hours staring at that oversize canvas as it hung over the fireplace at my husband's parents' lovely Ohio home. From my usual vantage point on the couch across the room, over the years, I took in every detail. Two quail nestled in tall grass; the airy brush strokes and muted olive palette gave it away as a classic mid-century composition.
At least, I think they were quail. Tonight, I asked my husband to confirm my recollection, and he said, "Yes, they were quail. Unless they were pheasants. They might have been pheasants. But they could have been quail."
I'm sticking with quail.
Anyway, that painting symbolized to me all that was good and true about my in-laws and the very memory of those birds stirs up a flood of happy memories that involve cousins running wild in circles around the house, babies chewing Grandpa's shoes, and a happy blur of John Wayne movies and Cleveland Browns football.
So, a few years back, when I came across a pair of mid-century quail figurines at the thrift store, I immediately thought of that iconic painting and snatched those copper-colored birdies up. Since then, I've placed them here and there around my house, as a homage to my in-laws and their warm, welcoming home.
But lately I've noticed that instead of invoking happy memories, the birds actually make me feel sad. They remind me of how much has changed since the days of the quail painting. My father-in-law passed away in 1996. After living there alone for another decade, my mother-in-law packed up and moved out of their beloved home and into a residential care facility, where she now lives in the land of eternal sunshine that is dementia. I have no idea what happened to the painting.
To be honest, I've thought about getting rid of the birds altogether.
Then, last week, I decided rather abruptly that they simply needed a change.A transformation
A revival, if you will, to bring their nostalgia and charm into the present day.
So without further ado, I grabbed my ubiquitous can of gold spray paint and went to it.
Oh my gosh, I'm so happy with the result.
Now, when I look at these figurines, I recall not just the bittersweet memories of days long gone by. I also see how the loving lives of my parents-in-law impact my home and my family to this very day. I'm so grateful for who they were and what they gave to me, and I like to think that their presence lives on in the images of these two graceful, golden quail.
* * * * *
More stories about my endearing in-laws: