I awoke in the middle of the night last night (no idea why) and found myself thinking of my Mom’s Button Jar. It was an old Nalley’s Tang jar, a Pacific Northwest version of Miracle Whip spread. The jar was old when I was a kid, the lid art looked about the mid-40’s, and of course the label was long gone. There was a slot cut in the lid, sort of like a piggy bank would have, but what Mom put through it was buttons, not money; though in a way it was more thrifty than going down to Fonk’s, the local Five and Dime, and purchasing a card of buttons when a recycled (though we of course did not view it in that light back then) one would do.
The jar was a veritable cornucopia of buttons; I remember buttons of all colors and shapes, red ovals, square blue, jewel like and shiny, pearl finished, many that were just plain white or grey. I wondered at where they had all come from, because I did not remember ever seeing some of them ever attached to shirts, blouses, dresses or slacks. Seems to me like Mom was constantly pulling the jar out, opening it and matching buttons to replace the ones that had gone missing on one of her three men’s shirts. I realized as I was lying awake, that I did not even know where she stored that jar. I imagine it was with the old, burnt out 60 watt light bulb she used to darn holes in our socks, (Yup, on $400 a month in a good month, and making a mortgage payment too boot, and groceries for four people, she darned the socks whenever she could) but I never knew where she kept that either, but both would appear when needed. I don’t recall ever hearing her complain about doing either task, she simply accepted it as a “Mom job” and got right on it. Do people even bother to darn holes in their socks anymore? I know I don’t, just get some new ones as the old wear out. Still have some spare buttons floating around, but not in the profusion of shapes and colors Mom’s button jar did.
Can’t figure out why I thought of that jar last night though, but just perhaps, its because Mom has been gone a bit over a year now, and Dad has been gone for about 30, and it Christmas, and like Scrooge, but for more pleasant reasons, I am reminded of the people and memories of my past. So I say, as did Tiny Tim, “God Bless Us, Everyone!”, and to all a Merry Christmas, a good night, and just possibly as you dream, that you may have visions of Sugar Plums; and Button Jars dancing in your head.