Hannah was the woman who cared for my brother & me when my parents worked. While I own no photos of Hannah, her memory is etched deeply in my mind. Let me describe her……
She was short and slightly chubby with a mildly unkempt appearance. Her hair was straight, short, grey and white and occasionally had a purplish tint. My mind still hears the sound of her as she tries to rid her mouth of tiny tobacco bits from her unfiltered Camels. I see her continually hoisting up her bosom and adjusting her bra straps.
Her only job was to watch over us, but she did so much more….cleaning, cooking, washing and ironing. I loved it when she would let me dampen the clothes & iron bra straps, pillow cases & handkerchiefs. Remember those days?
When Hannah was there, our home was sweetly scented. Warm rice pudding with cinnamon, tapioca with fresh peaches, my favorite spice cake, waffles dripping with butter & confectioners sugar, were some treats she often made.
If we were sick, her old fashioned remedies were better than any prescription. Oil of Clove & Vicks Vaporub cured just about anything. She’d turn the lid of the Vicks jar upside down & place it on a warm stove burner. After the Vicks melted, our chests, backs & temples were gently massaged with warm Vicks & we were tucked tightly in bed, already beginning to feel better.
She was a part of our family & she always wore a mustard seed necklace. Hannah never seemed to be a religious woman and although she told me the Bible verse many times, as a child I didn’t appreciate the significance of what it meant.
Hannah has long since passed on & that time was so long ago, but I wonder today how she got the necklace, why she wore it and what it meant to her.
In 2002, I was deeply mourning the loss of my beloved pet Lhasa Apso, Kira. Only a few days had passed since Kira was gone & my husband & I were in a jewelry store having a watch repaired. As most women will, I browsed the brightly lit cases of sparkly gems & I saw it……a mustard seed necklace! I hadn’t see a necklace like that for so many years. Immediately my eyes welled & tears streamed down my face as I choked back sobs.
Back in the car I let loose the sobs as I tried to explain my behavior to my baffled husband.
In the store, seeing that necklace, I was engulfed by a tidal wave of emotion. Grieving the loss of my pet & flooded with memories of Hannah, grieving that she too is gone.
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
The next day my husband handed me a small box, inside was the mustard seed necklace.
I don’t know what the necklace meant to Hannah, but what it means to me, words could never express. It’s such a tiny reminder of the Greatness of Our Lord. Believe in God and don’t worry about what you can and cannot do. A mustard seed is so tiny, yet as it grows it produces a huge tree, as faith will also.
Matthew 17: 19-20, Luke 17: 5-6
I’ll never forget these verses and I’ll always treasure my necklace.
Hannah’s legacy to me…… the mustard seed & the memories. Praise God!