My mother cleaned out her closet this week. Not a regular closet, but the one just inside the front door, past the curio cabinet and large vase that sometimes holds an umbrella. I'm not sure why the closet suddenly needed cleaning. Or what other treasures she might have unearthed. But I can tell you about the two items that she offered me before throwing them away.
The first was a program from my college graduation. Perhaps it's a collector's item now that my college has changed its name. I tell my students that was necessary because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was so smart. Much like the mold is broken once something unique is created, my institution of higher learning saw fit to rename itself once I graduated. They're not buying it. In fact, some still question whether I even attended college. That's their problem. I and several thousand other people know that I skipped across John Q. Hammons Center to grasp my diploma and enter a life of bestowing knowledge upon those thirsting, yearning citizens of tomorrow.
The second item proffered to me was a framed mirror. Mom said, "I thought maybe you could hang this inside your cabinet at work." This is not a good omen. I see only two reasons for offering a person a mirror.
Am I so vain that I must constantly admire myself? It would be like having an instant framed picture of me every time I open that cabinet. Am I Mona Lisa? Dorian Gray? Should I whip open that cabinet on nights that Farmer H shows up to watch a basketball game with me? Then we could be American Gothic. Without the pitchfork, of course. I'm pretty sure that would be considered a weapon by school standards.
Or was she hinting that my personal appearance leaves a bit to be desired? That I need to check out my countenance each morning before allowing people into my classroom, or venturing out of it. Has she been talking to those kids who asked me if I cut my own hair, and if so, did I turn on the lights, and bother to look in a mirror?
Mom assured me that her intentions were entirely honorable. She just thought of me. Not of my sister, mind you. But me. Perhaps that's because my sister is retiring from her kindergarten-teaching position at the end of the year, and won't need a school mirror. And after all, it was MY college graduation program.
But think about it. Were those two items really taking up so much space in that foyer closet?