|All the miniatures and their brethren at the shop. |
I do not own ALL of these little guys. YET.
This, however, is the story of how I lost a very important collection. And how the collection began. And how the loss of the collection raised stress levels in an already borderline crazy person. Namely, me.
Each December, the Christkindlmarket in Chicago features many awesome things (mulled wine in boots) and fun holiday events (MULLED WINE IN BOOTS). One of these booths sells miniature glass animals. Teensy tiny ones. Back when I was wandering the booths by my lonesome, solo self (a concept that simply boggles the reaches of my imagination, currently), I found an incredibly small orange porcupine. He needed me. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't just the empty boot in my other hand telling me to bring him home. So I did. And each following year I'd grab a boot and an animal; a reddish tiger. A yellow donkey with ambitious ears. They'd take their places of honor on my bedside table- because, at heart, I am a seven year-old girl.
Then I had daughters. And each year they'd get miniature glass animals; a giraffe, a blue bear, a kitty with puffy cheeks, and a hedgehog which Nora insisted on deeming a lion. My collection remained on my bedside table, Nora's resided on her dresser, and Suzy's lone cat lived on a small shadowbox shelf.
But then one day, during some roughhousing, Susannah's shelf was nudged and the cat was flung off. And even though we started looking immediately, we never found it. I don't think anyone will be surprised to learn that I cried.
Shortly thereafter, Nora began begging me to let her play with the entire menagerie. (She's in love with her collections, too.) And since she's easily the most careful smallish person I've met, I let her. I'd watch her set them up for tea parties so small you couldn't see the food. They would line up for picayune field trips and get tucked into a single sock for naptime. And I began letting her play with them with less and less of my attention. At the end of each day, we'd always place them back where they lived, and that would be that.
But then, last Spring, our lower level exploded in a mess of sewage and tears. And while she continued to play with the menagerie up in her room (always in her room, they never traveled), I had bigger fish to fry than the placement of a single blue bear. And that's the last time I remembered thinking about them all together, right before the lower level was gutted.
I remembered last month.
I tore Nora's room apart. Susannah's room apart. My room. P.J.'s dresser. (Like he's secretly smuggling glass animals across the Illinois border.) I shoved my hands into radiators and screamed at fistfuls of spiders. I emptied toddler shoes. Cabinets and drawers. Felt around in dressers and jewelry boxes and bags of "treasures." I'd say that my first stop was the vacuum, but as I only use the Roomba sporadically at best, it'd be a silly venture. Nora had no idea where they were (to be fair, I was asking her close to five months later).
I prayed to Saint Anthony.
I emailed my friend Vicki, an honest to gosh intuitive medium (jealous that I've got one of those on the ol' speed dial?), but at time of printing (publishing?) she'd yet to get back to me. (Because, like, all these ghosts hanging around here all the time? They need to start earning their keep. They can pay me in Lost n' Found help.)
And I refuse to give up. Sure, I have three written thingers due by Friday a.m. And two more birthdays to plan in the ol' Schoeny October Of Sugar. And yeah, maybe I should vacuum more. But all I can think about is that little porcupine. And how deserving porcupines never give up. (Read that one in a book.)
I will not rest until I've brought them all home.
Onto perhaps a slightly higher shelf.