Sharon Randall: Keepsakes of life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2018

What are your keepsakes? Where do you keep them? Don’t worry, I won’t tell. Not that anybody’s likely to steal them. Keepsakes aren’t usually worth much to anyone, except to the one who treasures them.

Pretty soon, in a week or so, we’ll hang a “for sale” sign on a house that’s been our home for a dozen years. When it sells (we hope soon), we’ll say goodbye to Las Vegas and move back to California to be closer to our family and longtime friends.

I’ll be happy to be back in the same town, on the same coast, in the same house where I raised my children and spent most of my adult life.

But I won’t be happy to leave here. It’s funny. I never wanted to live in a big city or a desert, let alone both. I remember the day my husband told me he’d been offered a job in Las Vegas.

“You don’t want to live in Vegas,” he said, “do you?”

“No,” I said. “But when a door opens, we should at least look to see what’s on the other side.”

So we looked. And the more we looked, the more we liked it. So we moved from the coast to the desert, to a house with a view of the Spring Mountains.

I will miss those mountains. And the sunsets that light them up. And swimming at midnight. And listening to coyotes. I’ll even miss the jackrabbits that graze on our tiny patch of lawn.

I’ll especially miss the friends we’ve made here and all the great times we’ve shared when our kids have come to visit us.

But my husband retired two years ago. And now, in addition to our children, we have six grandchildren in California. And they’re growing up fast.

Slowly, I’ve begun getting our house ready to sell.

Today I packed up a big box of “my stuff,” keepsakes that sat for years on some shelves behind a door, out of sight to most anyone but me.

I visited them there fairly often when I wanted to recall who I am. Here are just a few:

• A doll my grandmother made for me when I was 5. It was a magic doll, she said, that throughout my life would tell me things I need to hear. She was right. It tells me plenty.

• A baby shoe I wore to take my first steps. We had no money for fancy stuff, but my mother had it bronzed. That shoe and her middle name are all that she left me, along with a great wealth of memories and stories.

• A small ceramic pitcher my dad made while he was in the veterans hospital recovering from a stroke. He gave it to me on our last visit before he died. He was proud of it. So am I.

• A bundle of sticks tied up with a string. A friend brought it to Thanksgiving dinner as a token of our friendship: Each of us, he said, is like one of those sticks, fragile in our own ways; but together, we are hard to break.

• A wooden branch in the shape of a cross. I found it on a path in Zion National Park while I was praying for a friend who lay miles away in a coma only days from dying. I asked God for my friend’s deliverance. Then I saw that cross and knew my prayers were answered. Her death was my loss, but it was her salvation.

There were lots of treasures on those shelves. Photos of my kids and grandkids. Gifts they made for me. Reminders of loved ones long departed. I wrapped them up and tucked them away to take with me to California.

The only thing missing is a keepsake from the desert. We have a statue of a mama quail with two chicks on the post by our gate. She lost her topknot when a tree limb fell on her, so she’s not perfect.

Neither am I.

I bought that statue because we have loved watching quail in the yard. Chicks should be hatching soon. Hope we get to see some before we leave.

Meanwhile, I’ll pack the statue in my keepsake box and take it to California, to remind me of our desert dwelling days.

Life is too good to forget.

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394 Henderson, NV 89077 or