My ancestors on my fathers’ side came to America from Bruges, Belgium. First stop was Ellis Island. While passing through the halls and completing the paper work, the family name was changed right then and there to Bridges. A more American sounding name.
While living in Europe, we had the pleasure to travel to Belgium. We toured Brussels, there we ate the local cuisine, Mr. Right learned new driving customs and we saw our very first Michelangelo carving in person. It took my breath away. That particular trip, I was short on breath. The handmade lace was amazing. swoosh, just like that, my breath evaporated.
The year was 1998 and son number one was eleven, son number two was eight years old.
We meandered, learned, dined, and explored the city of Bruges. It was a once in a life time experience. The lace, oh the lace, all hand made and valued. The needlework school demands that you tat and learn the art of lace making for 7 years before you can sell your wares and call yourself a professional lace maker. I went into several shops. Yes, I purchased a couple of pieces.
Mr. Right kept the boys occupied outside. Tell me, what 8 and 11 year old boy would be interested in lace? I went into one shop in particular. The ladies were kind and lovely to me. They listened to my plan with enthusiasm. Carefully and with precision, they lined up upon the counter, several handkerchiefs embellished with hand made lace. I left the shop. I came back in with one boy, the oldest. I said, “see those handkerchiefs? Which one is your favorite?” He pointed. The ladies took that one “out of the line up”. I left the shop again. I took out son number one and brought back in son number two. I repeated the process. I said, “see those handkerchiefs? Which one is your favorite? I took son number two out of the shop. I went back inside to pay.
You see, I came up with a plan. I would have the boys each chose their favorite lace handkerchief. I bought the ones they chose. I labeled them with their names. Then carefully wrap them away in my cedar chest. Seven and a half years ago, I gave son number one “his” handkerchief to give to his sweetheart when they became engaged. She carried it when they got married.
Yesterday, I wrapped up the remaining handkerchief and gave it to son number two to give to his sweet girl. They became engaged yesterday. She is now the care taker of her handkerchief. I hope she chooses to carry it on the day they marry.
Life is full of decisions, and when you find you’ve got one right, it is worth