It lay dormant, nestled in the corner of the family dining room at the cottage. It listened to every one of our crazy conversations and eventually became the topic of many of those conversations instead of just blending into the background.
Its birth was accidental. It came to be through a simple act of property maintenance. The family cottage was built in the early 1900’s and had begun to show its age so, without regard for its final appearance, a spray foam was used to seal a few cracks in the old building. What resulted in the upper corner of that dining room was eventually named and heralded as a true piece of our family history.
Perhaps this innocuous object was made more grotesque by my family’s depraved sense of humor. It is even reasonable to say that other families may never look at this simple mass and see what we all saw. But from the first time it was noticed at a family dinner, it was affectionately dubbed the “shiny ball sack’.
Over the years, this harmless protrusion witnessed our highs and our lows. It feasted on the sounds of our laughter and it absorbed the collection of our tears. Somehow that inanimate object became a large part of the traditions of our family meals and I was devastated to find out it was going to be amputated from its place in those family traditions.
I haven’t been able to visit the cottage yet this summer so I was unaware that the surgical removal had taken place – until today. I came home from work to find a lovely gift bag on my front door step and when I saw what was inside, my heart swelled. There, gently preserved in a shadow box, was the shiny ball sack that has been a part of our family dinners for decades. My aunt had painstakingly saved this piece of history and presented it in a way that would allow me to keep this little gem of our family history safe and sound.
My mom and I used to laugh endlessly about this mutation of foam and it will now find its place beside a picture of my mother in my living room. It is a fitting ending to this chapter knowing that two of the things that brought me so much joy will be together again.