While Dusting My Bedroom Furniture

Front, Maid-of-Honor jewelry-music box, and Al's Christmas gift from 1967

It’s an overture to dusting my bedroom dresser. I wind the key to my Maid-of-Honor jewelry-music box and lift the lid to “Lara’s Theme.” Omar Sharif comes to mind, those years of teenage infatuation.
My older sister who married in December1968 knew the song’s mandolin pulled on my heart's strings. I sang “Somewhere My Love” along with “We Can Work It Out” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” They all vibrated through my vocal cords in conviction and hope.
My husband and I married in January 1970. My sister’s gift has since survived many household purges to produce a tidier bedroom and benefit the Salvation Army. The box’s artwork of a woman reading a letter remains holy—a piece of many parts bind us together, no matter our history, differences, and distance.
What the keepsake and song represent is tangible. The honor to stand beside my sister, hold her bridal bouquet while she declared her vows, is a powerful experience. I cannot deny this any more than the large white jewelry chest that dominates the center of my dresser. Christmas our senior year of 1967, my boyfriend Al removed a tablecloth from my gift like a magician. I had no idea how I’d fill the three tiers and lower drawer of what resembles a queen’s treasure chest.
Al was the first to contribute with a small, silver heart locket and chain. Both chain and locket wait secure in the original box on a hand-painted plate from my mother’s dining room bureau. The box is stacked atop others holding gifts in need of repair and polishing.
Considering my early nomadic marriage, those unsettling years of the Vietnam War, it is another manifestation of grace that I still possess these gifts. As I rub Old English furniture polish into the dresser’s mahogany finish, I’m grounded again to a marriage of forty-eight years.
This is why I find cleaning my furniture a rewarding chore. Often I’ll explore the contents of each box and pouch to review the stages of my life—to remember the places Mel and I have traveled and what beautiful trinkets have sprung from them—and pieces inherited from our parents.  
It’s a comfort to dust the lawyer’s bookshelf that belonged to Mel’s mom and dad. As I read the spines of books we hauled from their home in Grand Rapids, titles such as Prefaces to Peace and The Music Lover’s Handbook, both acquired in 1943, I learn something new about lovers separated by WWII. Perhaps someday I’ll read their copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls.
I wipe my tall dresser, the bedside table we inherited from my mother, and my grandmother’s three-tiered table. All bear photos of family gone to glory and still with us. They tell love stories and sing songs I hide in my heart.
Praise God, dear Reader, my many loves are with me. All is working out. There ain’t no hardship high enough, ain’t no loss low enough, to keep me from dusting my bedroom furniture.