A conversation with a friend brought up an interesting image. She remarked, as an adopted little angel, I must require a halo welded to my sweet head. I replied that I thought that I could pull it off if I could wrap it with the trinkets of my ingratitude.
I could just see myself as the towheaded angel that I once was, clad in a white robe, resplendent with my golden halo, wrapped in jingling sparkly charms representing all of my sins. It reminded me of the charm bracelet that I had as a child that represented all my virtues.
My charm bracelet was sterling silver, and so were the charms, that was pretty impressive in those days. It was my first piece of real jewelry. I had a charm with a musical note because I was taking piano lessons. A charm with a four leaf clover because I was lucky. There was a charm with a little girl carrying books because I went to school.
My adoptive mother bought me the charm bracelet at the local jewelry store. This was a place of wonder, full of grown up things that you had to be very careful around. They had glass shelves full of fancy glass vases and candy dishes in beautiful colors I’d never seen before. Lite from the bottom, I thought they were the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. They had long cases filled with gold and silver and gems that looked like contents of the treasure chests in my books. There was a display of gold paged Bibles with illustrations in glowing colors that seemed to have had to have come from heaven.
We didn’t buy much in the jewelery store, my adoptive mom liked practical things. But one day mom decided that I needed a charm bracelet. We walked into the jewelry store, past the lite up shelves that rattled ever so slightly with our footsteps, threatening to send the precious objects to the floor. I felt butterflies in my stomach and was relived to get to the back of the store without incident.
A woman that seemed so old that she might break if touched showed us a tray of silver bracelets. There were so many to choose from, delicate ones with thin links, more substantial ones with heavy links, and one made up of delicate links fused together, I chose that one. Then there were the charms, hundreds of them, made to represent everything I could think of, and some I couldn’t figure out. My mother told me that we would pick out a few charms today and I could have new ones when I earned them. I got the musical note and the four leaf clover that day. The old lady took the bracelet to the back, attached the charms and wrapped it up on a satin lined box. I wasn’t as nervous passing the rattling glass shelves with my little box on the way out.
I was only to wear the bracelet on special occasions and to church. Mom and I put it safely in my jewelry box that played Fur Elise and had the ballerina that spun in front of a mirror when opened.
I earned more charms, a little Scottie dog when I got a puppy, a rose zircon was a birthday gift. My bracelet would jingle on my wrist now. I wore it to my cousin’s wedding, and out to dinner at The Green Circle, a very fancy restaurant where they served Shirley Temples. I always wore it to church.
There was one charm that I wanted more than anything. It was a Bible, that had a little peephole you could look into and see the Lord’s Prayer. It was like magic. Mother told me I could have it if I memorized the Lord’s Prayer.
It wasn’t easy, it took a while, and there was some controversy over if I was to forgive sins or trespasses, but I did it. I memorized the Lord’s Prayer and got that charm.
I was quite the hit at Sunday school that week. Nobody else had ever seen anything like that charm. I refused to remove the bracelet, fearing it’s loss, and made everyone peer into the little Bible while I held up my wrist. My Sunday school teacher was even impressed.
I couldn’t wait to get home from church to tell my mother, who never attended church herself, about how much everyone had liked the charm. I never got home with that bracelet, it must have slipped off my wrist on the way home. I was devastated. Mother and I retraced my steps, but the bracelet wasn’t found. Mother even hired a man with a metal detector to look for it the next week. Nothing was found. The bracelet was lost. All of the representations of my virtues were never to be found again.
I believe my friend was right, they should have welded a halo to my head. It would have been harder to lose. Would those representations of my virtues turned to trinkets of my ingratitude eventually? Who is to know?