Homebodies - My little yellow stone


Rita Friesen 
Neepawa Banner & Press

It was a natural reaction. I saw a pretty, shining, stone and I picked it up and tucked it in my pocket. Its yellow gleam caught my eye and triggered a multitude of memories. •Reading the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Laura, as a young girl is intrigued by pretty pebbles that she finds on the shore of Lake Pepin. She pockets so many that the pocket of her red calico dress tears off. Fortunately, ma is able to mend the dress. I loved that image. The pretty pebbles and the competent mother.

•When my youngest child was but a wee lass, she loved ‘frowin tones’, throwing stones off any one of the three bridges that were all within easy walking distance from our farm home. Her love for stones never faded. Boxes full of her rocks were moved from the farm to the acreage, and if I look carefully, some even came into town with me. Moving day from farm to acreage, her older brother would approach me and ask if the box of rocks needed to be moved. Assured that indeed they did, with a puzzled tone he would reply – they’re rocks, mom. And I would simply say – they are Rilla’s rocks. And so another box was packed in the truck. Big ones, small ones, polished ones and rough ones. I love that image. A young girl’s hobby and the respect it earned.

•The grandchildren loved throwing stones as well. There was the year we – the extended family- went to Souris. As well as the children terrorising me when they insisted on swinging the Swinging Bridge, we spent hours at the rock pit. Some fine fossils were found, and everyone, all seven grandchildren, had a great time. We concluded that outing with a stop at the rock shop in town. The kids had a wonderful time, seeing the various rocks that can be found in our province. As is my wont, I used the time to teach, explaining more than they really wanted to know, but very hands on. As we were leaving the proprietor drew me aside and asked which school we represented, he was so impressed with the excellent behavior of the students. I assured him we were family, not a class on an outing. He was impressed. I love that image. Seven children under the age of eleven, all co-operative and obedient, and fun.

•For a Sunday School lesson we used a rock polisher. Each child was invited to bring a favourite small stone and we would, over the course of five weeks, see it transformed into a shiny, beautiful keepsake. We had a story to go with each stage of the refining process. What I recall most vividly is a young lad who did not want to relinquish his precious rough stone. There were tears until I assured him I had an extra he could use, and he could keep his. I love that image. A group of young children learning together, respecting and protecting the one who needed to keep his own stone.

I will keep the little yellow stone. My little yellow stone.