Portuguese Rooster

Carved Wooden Rooster from Portugal. My mother traveled to Spain and Portugal with her best friends, the next door neighbors. Their son was studying in Barcelona and Mother went along on the trip. This is typical of the kind of bright souvenir that would catch her eye.

Allthough this little bird is just a tchotchke, it reminds me of a rooster story my grandmother told:

“When we lived on the farm, our rooster was a big old mean thing. He liked to chase your mother and aunt, cornering them on the porch against the railing. They weren’t much taller than he was, and once he’d cornered them, he’d hop and peck and crow. It got so they were afraid to go out in the yard. Time for rooster soup!

“While the soup was cooking, the girls played zoo in the front room. Your mother [mine] pretended to be a lion caged under a chair. Roaring, she stuck her head through the rungs. And got wedged in. Her sister began jumping around, yelling, ‘You won’t get any jumping rooster soup.’ Neither soap nor vaseline could unstick her head. We had to take the chair apart.”

How satisfying as a child to know your mother was a scamp!

This being Mother’s Day, I want to add how terribly I miss her. She was a scamp her whole life (perhaps I should post the picture of her sticking out her tongue as proof). But she was also generous, helpful, loving, and smart. How lucky I was to have such a mother.

Antique Bell

1878 Saignelegier bell. Research turned up this: Bevin Bros. Mfg. Co. of East Hampton, Connecticut USA, has made these bells for many decades. According to their brochure:

“These Swiss cow and sheep bell reproductions are hand cast from mold patterns found in the Bevin Bros. factory almost 100 years ago. Each bell is cast from bronze in the pattern of the famous 1878 Saignelegier bell, which, legend tells, comes form the town of the same name.”

Don’t know if this an original or a reproduction. I do know it’s LOUD. It lived in the basement and we kids were forbidden to ring it unless outside. I thought it had something to do with Daddy’s navy experience, but no, it’s for cows…

Our best bell story centers around a crystal bell my parents received as a wedding gift. (What is it with weddings that call forth bells. My husband and I got one too. To call the servants? The kids?) Somewhere along the years, the clapper broke off. No matter. Daddy kept it in the bathroom and used it for a glass when he brushed his teeth!

Greek Treasure Dish

Small pottery container bought in Greece. Incised with a Greek woman playing a harp. Bottom mark: “Copy of Classic Period 500 B.C. Hand Made Greece.” Inside a lovely aqua-grey.

Mother and I traveled together often. Aunt Sylvia (she of the carnival glass dish elsewhere on this site ) was Mother’s usual travelling companion but she fell and couldn’t make the Greek tour. So my brand new manager at my brand new job gave me time off. (One of the best managers I ever had.) We had a blast, two weeks of traipsing through Greece with fabulous, knowledgeable guides.

I don’t remember what town we were in, but Mother was buying souvenirs and, as usual, selection was taking a while. I wandered out into the street to discover that there was a marching band coming, dressed in those white pleated Grecian skirts you see in pictures, with a drum major up front. I knew Mother would want pictures so I ran back into the shop.

Asking the shop keeper to hold this little container, Mother rushed out into the street and, walking backwards, took her pictures. I have looked for a copy of that photo, but it eludes me. So you’ll just have to imagine a short energetic woman, salt-and-pepper hair, camera in front of her eyes, walking backwards down a Greek street while the band plays and marches.