Vintage Books and Glasses

When I visited my sister recently, I had forgotten that she has been the guardian of some of the old family treasures from long ago. It was a pleasant surprise to see the items being kept safe behind the glass doors of a china cabinet.

The small blue liqueur glasses and decanter were perhaps bought in our first few years in Canada, more than half a century ago. The small wine or martini glass with the yellow swirls and the spiral stem is from a set that came to Canada with my parents back in 1953. This one is probably all that is left of the set.

When I saw it, I thought of my tongue. Odd, you might think, but memories that involve the senses can be very strong and long lasting.

My parents used to bring out these special yellow swirly glasses at Christmastime and pour a little egg liqueur from a bottle of Bols advocaat. We children were too young to be allowed alcohol, but once in a while, and because it was a festive season, we were allowed to lick out the last bit of advocaat from the yellow swirly glasses. Kind of gross, in hindsight, but as kids, we were thrilled.

So you can see that the yellow swirly glass holds special memories for me — not only the taste of the advocaat, but the smell of Christmas baking, the beautiful Christmas music, the coziness of the house and the love given to us by our parents.

Some might say these glasses are just inanimate objects, but they hold the key to a gold mine of memories.

Under the shelf with the glasses, two books leaned against the back of the cabinet. The old copy of Forever Amber, which I read when I was 16 (and that wasn’t yesterday), and another of my favourite stories, Little Black Sambo. The bigwigs now say that this book is racist, and have banned it, but I loved reading it and never once felt anything negative towards people of another race from that experience. My family and I simply loved that story.

Thanks to Luanne Castle https://writersite.org/2017/11/02/magical-bowls/

for the nudge to trot out old memories.

Ocean Treasures

My 99 cent e-book special is still on until Monday, April 1. Please find it on the previous post. Be sure to look there for the coupon code. You need it to get the discount.

And now, for Ocean Treasures:

For the men and women who go commercial fishing and endure the harshest of weather and sea conditions, there have to be reasons besides earning a living that make the lifestyle worthwhile. On the plus side, life on the sea has many beautiful moments. Having pigeon guillemots land on your boat to entertain you is one such moment. One of many others is the discovery of little treasures that float by on the tide.

For many years, the Japanese fishing fleet attached glass balls to their nets to keep them from sinking to the bottom. Often the nets were connected into huge combinations of netting that sometimes broke away and drifted unattended, harming many birds, fish, and sea mammals. But this aspect is another issue for another day. Once a net is lost, or broken up it can drift for a long time until the glass balls come loose and float away without the net. The floats drift for thousands of miles across the Pacific, and often for many years, before coming close to shore. Sometimes that shore is not the country of origin. Fishermen of the north coast of British Columbia have found all sizes, shapes, and colours of  glass floats that originated in Asia.

One of the most beautiful glass floats my husband has found was floating by his troller on the west coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands. It was partly covered with gooseneck barnacles that would have looked very decorative if left on the net webbing that encased the float, but once out of the water, they would have died and become quite hummy. What to do? Make lunch, of course. While they were still fresh, he steamed them up and had a good feed of gooseneck barnacles, a delicacy.

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Over the years we have found many interesting “treasures” on the beach or floating past the boat. A huge piece of bamboo floated ashore one day – a 12-foot-long pole about five inches in diameter. It has been sitting in our yard for 30 years still waiting to be used in an original way. Coconuts have washed up on the beaches of the Queen Charlotte Islands, hoping in vain to find warmer sprouting weather.

One day we walked along the beach and found a heavy rubber glove sticking out of the sand as if to suggest that the rest of the man were buried there. A short distance away, lay his white plastic helmet. We wondered what might have happened to the fisherman. About twenty feet farther along, we found the answer – an empty bottle of Japanese Suntory whiskey.

Once when I was deckhanding, the skipper (my husband) spotted four sticks floating vertically in the water up ahead of the boat. He told me to get ready with the gaff and reach out to hook whatever it was and bring it aboard. He angled the boat so the “thing” would be close to the side of the boat as we passed and I reached out as far as I dared to snag it. Neither of us had any idea what it was until we got quite close to it. I managed to get the gaff into it but when I tried to bring it aboard, there was no way I could begin to lift it. The skipper took the boat out of gear and hustled out onto the deck to help with the lifting. It took both of us to haul that floating treasure out of the water. When we turned it right-side-up on the deck it was much more recognizable. The four sticks that floated vertically were the legs of a cruise ship deck chair with European style numerals on the underside. I say European style because the 9 was made like a g. The chair was so heavy because it was waterlogged. It dripped like a rainshower as it sat on deck.

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There’s only one thing that bothers me about this chair. Since it seems to have fallen off a cruise ship and was floating upside down, I can only assume the direction its occupant must have gone. 😉  What do you think? And by the way, tell us, have you found any treasures on the beach?