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Value comes more from the owner than the object

   The salt and pepper shakers sit beside the cook top in Eli and Katie’s kitchen. It’s not that the shakers are expensive or valuable. They’re very basic, aluminum creations that almost seem out of place in their kitchen. Yet they hold a sentimental value to Eli. They were the only things Eli requested when my parents’ “estate” was dismantled.

It has to be the memories associated with those shakers that give them value. They sat on Mother and Daddy’s oven in the kitchen — the room that was the typical gathering place for family. It was that kitchen that had an adjacent back door that swung often when Tahya and Eli were next-door neighbors.

That warm kitchen was made that way by grandparents that always nurtured and loved their grands. Delights of all varieties were created in that kitchen, and a sampling was always available for grandchildren.

Eli crowned Daddy as the king of French fries. Those were the days when the large cast iron roaster was also the deep fryer, and calories from fried foods were the norm. Daddy would slice the fries thin enough to always harvest a platter of golden, crispy fries. The crunchy remains were off limits to everyone except Eli. After a quick sprinkle of salt from that special shaker, the fries were a body-building staple for all the grandchildren.

I’m not certain about the memories that return when Eli picks up one of those shakers, but I know the major part of their value comes from loving their original owners. The hands that reached for those shakers were the gentle hands that embedded multiple layers of love in our children. I hope those sentimental shakers will also remind Eli, Katie, and their children that our value is measured by Who owns us.

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camille@datalane.net.