It was three-tiered, metal, and accompanied by a wooden-handled rubber mallet.
My grandmother kept a dinner bell while I was growing up.
And it was to be rung at precisely 6 p.m..
My brother and I used to squabble over who would ring the gong for our weekly Sunday suppers at her house, obviously the most desirable “chore” among the more ordinary table-setting duties we divided up.
This ritual is inextricable from my childhood memories.
Like the scraggly teddy bear I never let go of or waking up on Easter morning to the Beatrix Potter books my parents re-wrapped every year.
In my memory? The three-tiered bell is a towering, magnificent symbol of stability.
The bell meant Sunday suppers -- salmon cakes, broccoli with cheese sauce, everyone together, cherry pie.
Recently, and with a funny pang of mourning, it occurred to me that along with the slew of inevitable changes in the past twenty-something years, that my grandmother has long since gotten rid of that bell.
But here's what I realized:
Once imbued with meaning, a symbol can be yours forever.
And despite the fact that our family moved across the country and back, that my grandfather passed away nearly two decades ago now, and that my parents eventually divorced -- despite the tremendous challenge of gathering even a sprinkling of us under one roof at the same time?
It strengthens me to know that despite this ever-shifting world and all its uncertainties, the sun always rises, yes, and my grandmother -- 100-years-old this year -- still puts dinner on her table at 6 p.m. every night.
Curious: What are the anchors that help you to find your ground when you need it?