Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ain't Nothin' But A Rock Hound

My mother swears that some of my more interesting personality quirks have been passed down through her family line. The side of my family I like to affectionately call "The Hillbillies". My dad's side is the "Yankee Immigrants".

For instance, my grandmother had an older sister, Virginia, who when I was in high school was living out the last years of her life in a nursing home and didn't really know who she was and what the hell was going on. But damn if that woman didn't leave her room without her jewelry which included earrings, at least one necklace, bracelets, and two hands full of rings. My mother liked to use Aunt Jen as the genetic reasoning behind my armload of friendship bracelets in middle school and my gypsy-like adoration of rings in high school. I've always had a thing for ornamentation. Witness my current adult stubborn refusal to let go of the 10 earrings I sport.

Anyway, along those lines of reasoning, I present to you an obsession passed down into a third generation. My grandmother was a rock hound. The woman loved collecting rocks. She would hike up into the mountains behind her house and unearth geodes to crack open. On her various trips around the nation, she would pick up an interesting rock here and there (Blatantly disregarding National Park rules sometimes.). Her friends and family would also bring her a souvenir rock from their travels. I brought her a smooth Mediterranean beach stone from Nice in 2003. She was strangely meticulous in labeling the origins of her rocks, as we discovered sorting through her stuff after she passed last fall. The rock collection has now passed into my hands (Sadly returning the Nice rock to me as well.).

Little A is also developing into a regular rock connoisseur. In the past few weeks he has developed two new skills/obsessions: throwing things and picking up the rocks in the driveway. Put them together and one can see the "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson"-factor. Capitalizing on this newfound excitement for hurling rocks, I decided to take Little A down into the woods near our house to chuck stones in the little creek there. Baby Jackpot. It was like he'd gone straight to heaven without passing Go and collecting $200. The creek itself was a marvel to him but when I introduced the concept of pitching a small stone into the shallow depths, he lit up like a Roman candle. Man, we could have been down there chuckin' rocks until Kingdom Come. Score 1 for Mommy. Can't wait until we get another warm streak (March winds be damned!) for our next excursion.

I only hope that in a few years, Little A will also appreciate his great-grandmother's collection of rocks. It would thrill her to no end to know that her rocks from all over the world line the shelves of her grandson's room and that he spent many an hour turning them over in his hands, admiring their beauty and variety.

We've just gotta get past the Little A's current fixation with putting rocks in his mouth.

1 comment:

JamieSmitten said...

Your grandmother was a smart woman. I collect, but I don't label. I still remember the provenance of the really special rocks (there are rules about taking part of the rain forest?), but some of the smaller ones are now just pretty rocks. Little A is welcome to visit them any time -- once he is past the chucking stage. : )

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