The car was equipped with the traditional front and back seats (no bucket seats here, baby!)... PLUS our gorgeous monstrosity of a vehicle had a third back seat that could be setup for passengers to sit and face backwards, looking out from the rear window at the road behind us. It was awesome!... And, of course, what I mean by "awesome" is that it was setup to offer two little hoodlums (such as my brother and myself) an easy way to spend our travel time making goofy faces at unsuspecting commuters who may happen to pull behind our wild and crazy moving violation of auto antics.
Of course, early on, Momba had gotten wise to our foolishness. So, she had devised a plan in advance of the Disney road trip to save the many defenseless drivers from our distracting wackiness. She had worked with my father to install a make-shift table in the back of the car. This offered my brother and I a fully stocked arts and crafts table, allowing us to exert our creative minds away from the traffic outside. She had purchased several make-a-plate kits that included pieces of round paper to doodle on, along with the kit's "special" crayons. The idea was that we would draw our masterpiece on the round paper, then mail the finished work to the manufacturing company who magically turned your doodles into actual plates for dining. To keep our inquisitive minds busy, Momba bought plate-making kits for my brother and I to make enough dinnerware to cater to a royal wedding... and that, my friends, was her master plan. She wisely realized that she could kill two... actually three birds with one stone... (1) Keep my brother and I busy and content during a three day drive to Mickey Mouse; (2) Stop us from being the main topic of conversation on the police scanners; and (3) Make a full set of personalized dinnerware to give as Christmas gifts to every relative we had.... (and let me tell ya - that is a lot of people!) She really is a brilliant woman!
Momba was of the belief system that children did not need pre-printed coloring books that limited creativity. Rather, she felt that Scott and I should be able to first draw out our pictures and then color inside the lines. I don't know if this was her special way of saving a buck or two, but nonetheless, looking back I've always loved her for instituting this rule. It taught my brother and I how to express ourselves artistically.... something we both still enjoy in many different forms and mediums today.
So, there we were... Monet and Picasso (maybe not) expressing our many creative ideas onto twelve inch round pieces of paper. Because Scott was older and clearly more talented than I, his works were colorful, thoughtful and... well, comprehensible. Mine, not so much. You see, I was very young. I had only recently learned how to write out my name, so I'm certain that little was expected from my artwork. However, I was always trying to mimic the talent and abilities of my big brother. Scott would create visually splendorous landscapes blooming with flowers and happy farm animals. Sadly, I would draw globby stick figures. In my mind, they where just as good as Scott's, but when I look at them today, I see that my drawings were indeed inferior... and clearly in my blue period. (Ha ha. Just about every picture I drew was done in the color blue.)
OK, so now for today's DW thought...
All my life I have been prone to mixing things up and saying them backwards. Example: I always referred to my left as my right. If we were facing East... I'd say it was West. My elbow was my shoulder (and vice versa). Anyway, during this particular road trip, I had limited experience in signing my name - much less the names of all my family members. So, I did my best to reason out how to sign each plate correctly. Unfortunately, I reasoned it out backwards (as usual) and mixed up the "to" and the "love" part of my greeting. Example: Love Grandpa, To Vicki... Love Auntie Ruthie, To Vicki... Love Momba, To Vicki... and so on. My reasoning to do this was completely sound in my own mind... for I DID love Grandpa, Auntie Ruthie and Momba sooo very much... so it made perfect sense that they should have the word "love" written next to their name.... not mine.
Thirty+ years later, whenever I am blessed to be present at a family gathering, it is inevitable that one of these darling plates surfaces, posing as a make-shift cheese or veggie platter. When they do turn up, my brother and I always smile at each other across the room and silently remember the amount of unconditional, unending love and care that went into their creation. I have to laugh when I think of the reaction of those who received my one-of-a-kind dinnerware that particular Christmas. How they must have giggled at the innocent expression of love from their favorite blondie-blonde tomboy. Since that time, many of these family recipients have passed on to be with Jesus, but the plates are still in circulation and being shared within our family.
Love Grandma, To Vicki... Love Daddy, To Vicki... How glad I am that I followed my heart and wrote the "love" next to their names rather than my own. To express such love may seem backwards and mixed up in comparison to how things are supposed to be done in this world, but I don't care. It is how we should all express love to one another... with a pure and genuine love that comes unconditionally from our hearts. That is the love that God desires from each of us.
Ladies, let's follow the teaching of Jesus and lovingly put His name before our own. Let's showcase His love in how we treat one another so that His ways are continually in use from generation to generation. Let's take the time to share the gift of God with everyone we meet so that they too may be offered the blessing to eat off His bountiful plate. For His portion is always enough. His table is waiting.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:11-12)
Love Jesus, To Vicki...