Finding your marbles

Or: Alternative ways to mark gratefulness, habits and accomplishments.

I was going to use a jar from my small stash but bought one at The Container Store. Of course, any jar would do, right? A spaghetti sauce or an olive jar would be nice. Others may want to start with a pint jar, so they get to see their goals or progress more quickly. One of those candle jars would be great. A tiny little jelly jar might be just the ticket for someone! (Last year I learned that if you put your pungent jars in the sun for a couple of days, the food smells go away. A tip for anyone who needs a jar.)

The marbles: Starting with two little packs from Hobby Lobby, I put them in an older bowl from a thrift shop and placed some yellow/yellow and white ones in the jar for six ducklings that were in my yard. Over the days, I moved the set up around and ended up with them within easy view.

Many are from Mega-Marbles who do color sets for nature, outer space, etc. The orange represents my husband (his favorite color), black or white with black swirls are morning coffee, teal green is yoga, emerald green for walks. These came from Hobby Town, but they are also available from Amazon. There are some good online shops, but marbles aren’t as popular in the brick-and-mortar stores, which is my observation.

I told my friend (also my “career mom”) about my marbles, and she loved the idea. She said she used to collect marbles as a kid. I told another friend about my marbles, and he told me about one of the games they used to play back in the ‘50s.

It is definitely a good conversation starter if you so choose. There have been some tough moments, but it is successful so far. Each day, my goal is to move marbles from the bowl to the jar, and I am trying to be realistic about the time it takes while enjoying the process.

Dedicated to my bus stop friend, J.

Properly a doorstop

Photo of a wooden doorstop in the shape of a cat.

Photo of a wooden doorstop in the shape of a cat.
A doorstop made by a great uncle before 1931.

This cat is what I consider my very own folk-art item, and I marvel that he ever came to me.

This is a doorstop my paternal grandmother had in her house forever. Through a couple of very unexpected “giftings,” I ended up with him.

He was made by a very handsome young man named Elijah or “Ligey.” This was my grandmother’s brother, and he worked on boats during the depression then died in 1931. He is listed in the 1930 census as a carpenter on a tanker. It appears from a few letters, since no one has ever really said, that Ligey sent some money home and possibly gambled for it sometimes. When he died, he was away from his family. He has been listed as a mess boy on a ship that docked in New Orleans, but he had kidney disease and was discharged and sent to the Marine hospital where he died. Sadly, the family had moved from Georgia to Florida in the 1920s, and it looks like his mother was unable to travel to Georgia for the burial.

This doorstop was used by my grandmother to hold open the front door. Her house didn’t have air conditioning. In the 1980s, 90s, and later, this cat lived a neglected life, sort of just hanging around in a dusty setting.

He came to me a few years ago. I displayed him in various ways, but I always used old tattered books as doorstops (the shape and weight make sense to me). When my books were sorted and tidied recently, I told my friend I didn’t have doorstops any more and would have to buy some. I pointed out that I couldn’t use this one, after all. It is art or a sentimental item, but not really a doorstop, was it?

He asked why wasn’t I using it. “It’s a doorstop, after all.”

So for the past two plus months, the wooden cat is back at his calling – holding open my bedroom door, so my cats don’t accidentally get shut in!

Elijah Thomas Blackshear, died in 1931 from
Elijah Thomas Blackshear died in 1931 from “Bright’s Disease,” a term for kidney disease.