Birds of a Feather

It has been a long snowy winter here in Missoula. And this morning like so many others, I awoke to snow coming down. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good snow day, especially if I get to take a few turns on the ski hill, but since it is March 5th and we’ve now had a few warm afternoons I am beginning to crave that smell of spring in the air. I haven’t had a whiff of it yet but I did startle a flock of 20 odd Robin Red Breasts in my driveway yesterday on their return trip from warmer climes. My desire for spring and rebirth and perhaps the necessity of finding all my tax documents got me doing a little spring cleaning in my office, where I stumbled upon these handmade Victorian Calling Cards which once belonged to a relative of my grandmother Myrn Pagels Thayer. Myrn had a pension for collecting and as a child of the Depression did not have the heart to throw anything away. From treasures to trash, her house in Chattam, New Jersey was packed to the crown molding with everything from Civil War era guns, buttons and postage stamp collections, to years and years of newspapers and stacks of immaculate tin cans. As a result of her unchecked hoarding and her growing dementia, Myrn’s house burned down in the late eighties when I was about twelve. These beautiful cards that some how found their way out before the inferno, never used, saved for decades and long forgotten in my grandmother’s house, remind me that even the simplest objects and gestures once considered customary and essential to proper social interaction, deserve more value and consideration than we give them today. I like the idea of using calling cards today, rather than “business cards”, of giving someone you’ve recently met a small token of your interest in them in hopes of gaining a friendship in return.