This story is the eleventh installment following Alexis on her life journey and those of her ancestors who have worn the heirloom pearl necklace before her. In case you’ve missed any of the previous chapters, you can find it here.
Alexis checked her hair one last time in the car mirror. In her hand was a posy of hand-picked daisies, which she’d hastily picked before getting dressed. She glanced at Max. She was nervous.
She’s met Max’s parents before, but this year, his grandmother invited everyone, including her, to Max’s family’s traditional Thanksgiving meal. And Max’s grandmother – and her Thanksgiving dinners – are somewhat of a family legend. She’s held the dinners for years and everyone in Max’s family knows they’ll get a stern talking-to if they dare miss it. It’s been whispered that this is where she eyes her grandchildren’s prospective life partners – and beware if she doesn’t approve!
“What did Marjorie do for a living?” Alexis asked.
“My grandma? She’s a potter.”
A potter! Alexis couldn’t help remembering the story of Yui and Rin, her potter ancestors.
“I hope she likes me,” Alexis said, now with more excitement than nerves. And I hope I like her, she thought to herself.
Finally, Max turned at the traffic lights and they cruised through a tree-lined neighborhood. Then he turned into a long driveway lined with large oak trees. Masses of flowers and shrubbery surrounded the double-storey house with wooden shutters and a royal blue door. Behind the house streaks of pink, orange and gold lay over a quiet lake. It was breathtaking.
“Here you are!” Out came Marjorie, grey hair bouncing with vibrant curls over piercing blue eyes, her arms wide open. “Come here my Maxie boy. And you!” she exclaimed, turning to Alexis. “Come here so I can get a good look at you.”
Alexis flushed. Marjorie took her by her shoulders, looking her up and down. The red embroidered shawl around Marjorie’s shoulders gave off a whiff of lemon and lavender and something exotic.
“And what are these?” she asked, eyeing the pearls.
“They belonged to my grandmother,” said Alexis, her hand flying to the string of pearls.
Marjorie nodded in approval and put her arms around Alexis and Max’s shoulders. “Let’s get inside before it gets too dark.”
“This is for you,” Alexis said quickly. She felt embarrassed – save for a large patch of lavender and flowering rosemary, almost all the flowers around the driveway were daisies. But Marjorie didn’t bat an eye.
“My favorite!” she said, pressing her face deep into the bunch. “Ok, let’s have dinner before I give you the once over. One can’t do anything with a hungry stomach!”
Marjorie served starters of corn fritters with a few decadent sauces: honey and lemon, cheese and herb. Then she carried out a massive herbed turkey with mashed potatoes, beetroot and brussels sprouts, all the vegetables from her own garden. Large salads with walnuts, grapes, pears and greens were piled on the table.
Just as Alexis’s cheeks had started warming up from the smooth red wine served in massive goblets, Marjorie cleared her throat. “Come with me, Alexis. Help me get the dessert ready.” The table went quiet. Alexis wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but then she realized Marjorie hadn’t asked anyone else to accompany her. Oh dear, she thought. She stepped through the double wooden door leading to the expansive kitchen. Pots and pans hung over an island in the middle.
“Over there,” Marjorie gestured. “In the cupboard. Hand me the blue box.”
Alexis opened the cupboard doors. A blue box painted full of now-faded flowers sat rather oddly on top of dry foodstuffs.
“That’s it,” said Marjorie. “Right. Draw a card.”
She opened the box, only to find a pile of cards, face down. This doesn’t look like dessert to me, Alexis thought, pulling a card from the pile.
“Umm…. It’s got a guy and a dog.”
Marjorie walked around to join Alexis. “This one is called the Fool.”
Marjorie laughed when she saw the look on Alexis’s face. “Don’t be alarmed! It’s a good sign. Well, thank heavens. Do you want to know what it means?”
“The fool tells you that this is no time to be afraid. It’s a crazy man – can you see? He’s pushing you to go beyond your own limits, to take risks. And he’s covered with luck. But he also gives you a tip: look for unexpected ways to find success. It’s not always what you think it’s going to be. But remember! Don’t do things in the heat of the moment. Take time and use your acquired wisdom to make wise decisions.”
Marjorie looked down at Alexis’s pearls again. “Much like those pearls, actually. Do you know it takes an oyster months and months, sometimes years to shape that pearl? It’s the very symbol of wisdom acquired over time.”
Alexis smiled. “I know. My grandmother left me a bunch of letters with the necklace.”
“Ohhh… well that you’ll have to tell me about! I’m intrigued.”
“Are we done here, though?” Alexis asked.
Marjorie laughed. “Not yet! We still have dessert to serve! Hand me those bowls and I’ll get the ice cream and pie. And while we dish up, tell me more about your grandmother…”
Alexis sighed an inner sigh of relief. Thanks, Grandma, she thought, touching the pearls. I knew they’d work their magic somehow.
Heirloom pearls are something that instantly starts up a conversation. Not only that, it hands down a sentimental reminder to your children of the people that came before them and reminds us how grateful we should be for the time we have with them. Visit our shop to start your own heirloom pearl tradition.