The Things We Hold Dear
The photos on this page were taken in northern Spain,
most of them on or near the Atlantic coast.
    Years ago, there was a TV show I used to watch, the name of which escapes me now.  It
was a British comedy about a couple who owned a village gift shop.  They kept the things
they liked best in a glass display case and referred to them as "the precious things."  A
tourist stopped in one day and, quite naturally assuming the things on display were for
sale, wanted to buy one of the items in the case.   The owner was taken aback.  "You can't
buy that!  It's one of our precious things!"
    I think about that show every time I unpack and repack my Christmas decorations.  I
have containers of ornaments, lights, indoor and outdoor decorations, etc., all labeled
appropriately according to the contents.  But when I labeled one of the boxes, I had that TV
show in mind.  It simply reads, "The Precious Things."  
    Now, if you think of precious things as items that are worth a lot of money, you'd be
puzzled by the things in this box.  If you sold them, you wouldn't earn enough to buy a cup
of coffee.  It's only when you think of precious things as holding sentimental value that
their worth becomes clear.  There are a few ornaments and mementos from my childhood, a
few from my son's childhood and a few of my mother's favorite Christmas keepsakes.
    This box takes longer to unpack than all of the others combined, because the things in
this box are so dear to me.  Each item holds a memory.  And each memory has to be
savored - lived again, with a smile or a tear.  Often both.
    Memories are precious, so the things that bring them forth are especially dear.
                                                                  -- Nancy
She came back with a King Edward cigar box and sat with it on her knees.
After she opened it, she stared down at the contents, as if the letters
and snapshots and papers within were treasures awaiting discovery.
She fingered through handwritten notes and birthday cards and
elementary school report cards.  "My momma gave me these things.
She said these were the little bits of us that she held dear."
-- Robert Crais, "Voodoo River"
There is a place in all our memories, a place we moved away from long ago,
but never left behind.  It still sits quietly, patiently waiting - knowing that it
is not forgotten, any more than it has forgotten.
 -- Elizabeth Spencer
In one way or another, everything remembered is dear.  -- Susan Sontag
Gather well your memories,
Store them against tomorrow;
There may be a time when the song is gone,
And their joy you'll need to borrow.
-- Mabel Gabbott
No matter how far we wander, we can, in an instant, call back
precious memories of home and family.  
-- Valerie Luesse
Into my heart's treasury I slipped a coin
That time cannot rust, nor a thief purloin;
Better than the minting of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory of a lovely thing.
-- Sara Teasdale
Music:  Seven Spanish Angels

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