My Grandmother’s Conch
When we sisters were young, Mother was ace at picking out the perfect gift for birthday or Christmas. One year I got a fly rod and a fashionable muff. Odd combination, but she knew where my interests lay. But once we were grown and out of the house, Mother was less likely to know what would be a wonderful gift and so she asked for lists. I asked for some books (I always wanted books) and a conch and promptly forgot about it.

On my birthday, among the packages, was one with a card from my grandmother. A grandmother who had been dead for several years. I thought it was a mistake, but Mother said, “Open it.” And there was my grandmother’s shell.

I have no idea where shell originally came from. All my grandparents lived in the middle of the country, far from any ocean, and they weren’t great travellers. I can only assume once upon a time they were fashionable, or maybe it came as a gift. In any case, I treasure it, not for its beauty, although it is beautiful, but because it once belonged to a beloved grandmother.