A Memory Stick in process.
Last February, almost a year ago, I pruned an apple tree in our church garden. As I took the cut branches to our burn pile I noticed an interesting burl, or knot, in one of the branches. For no particular reason I cut the 1 ½ inch diameter branch into a 14 inch length--retaining the burl--and took it home. There, I stripped the bark off and set it aside to dry.
Last week I took the thoroughly dry branch and polished it using a wax product I found on a back shelf. When I finished polishing it I packed it in my suitcase and took it to Minnesota as a Christmas gift for my daughter who lives there.
I realize that a shiny stick seems an odd gift, even if it has an interesting knot on one end. But it occurred to me that I wanted her to have something that would last longer than our usual gifts of small money and a few stocking stuffers. I'm pretty sure the stick will stick around, and it will cause her to think about me whenever she sees it, dusts around it, or uses it to prop open a window. That's why I called it a memory stick.
She was, of course, puzzled when I gave it to her. I didn't explain its uses, but I called it a memory stick when I handed it to her. "A memory of what?" she asked. I shook my head. "I don't know," I answered. "Maybe you'll just remember that I gave it to you." She nodded and put it on a bookcase shelf.
What I imagine will happen is that she'll see the stick sometime in the near or distant future. And when she does she'll have a memory of me. I hope, of course, that it is a good memory. I also imagine that she'll keep it, and that someday my grandchild will ask her what it is. And she'll say, "Why, that's a memory stick that Grandpa gave me before you were born. Pretty cool, huh?"
So: an apple tree branch destined for the burn pile was cut and skinned and polished and given to a young woman several states away. She put it on a shelf and will forget about it for a while. Then she'll see it and have a memory of me. And maybe, someday, she'll give the stick to a her kid, and tell the story of how she got it.