Love Spoon gift from Gay Hardy's collection
I remember when I found a box of strange looking things in my young son’s room, and when asked what it was, he answered, “I am starting a scab collection!” After a sort discussion, I got him to transfer his enthusiasm to baseball ball cards. I guess he learned from his mother to keep things of vague value.
I am not a pack rat, but I do collect things that interest me. Sometimes the interest is only for a short while like the advertising tins that eventually got tiring. Others have been a lifetime love like Blue Willow dishes, an affection that started with a childhood set when I was five years old. I have knife rests, egg coddlers, tea cups, tea pots, tea paraphernalia, hat and shawl pins, and turquoise jewelry dotting special spots in my house. But one of my favorite collections is the varied friends I have met in my lifetime. It is a collection I have continued to add to without tossing any away. Besides classmates and neighbors, there have been an assortment of people like Wanda who I met when my four year old threw up near her at a preschool play, Deidra in New Zealand who had lost her husband to mesothelioma and walked me through my dad’s cancer in daily emails, and Ginny who I met on a L’Engle online discussion group and later met for lunch in Aztec, New Mexico. Then there is John and Gay Hardy, residents of Wales.
Although I have never actually met Gay, I met John as part of trio of engineers from Wales and Belgium who were visiting DH’s company. The three men stayed over a weekend, and DH and I took them on a brief tour of the Ozarks. I was no fool, DH is not much of a talker and he needed a mouthpiece for a whole weekend. John from Belgium did not speak much English so that was hard, but I kept John from Wales and Stefan from Belgium busy answering questions. I learned a lot about their countries while showing them ours. We took them riding through the Ozark countryside showing them Capps Creek, Roaring River, Eureka Springs, and Branson. It was shopping, eating, and shows. It was fun for us all, and we would stay in touch with Stefan and John from Wales for years to come.
This year John and Gay sent us a lovely box at Christmas packed full of precious goodies. Wouldn’t you know, the box didn’t arrive. Besides all the lovely teas, tea accoutrements, and calendars, this year Gay had included something from her own collection of love spoons. The spoon had been carved by their neighbor who has since died; it was irreplaceable. Then after two months, the box showed up here last week on our porch!
Love spoons are mostly a Celtic item, and Wales it the primo place to find a love spoon. Love spoons were carved from one piece of wood and included decorative features like hearts, bells, anchors, or doves among other things. They took time to carve, and often sailors carved them with their time out to sea. In early Welsh history, love spoons were made by young men who gave them to young women they were interested in, thus love spoons. In early times, the Celtic people used wooden spoons and bowls for daily eating and much carving of eating utensils occurred. Love spoons were evidence that a young man could carve and provide good spoons for his sweetheart, but the love spoons themselves were more for decoration than use.
The love spoon that Gay gave us from her own collection has a heart at the top, expressing the common theme of love. While most love spoons were made from sycamore, oak and popular were also used. We are not sure of which wood was used to make our love spoon.
I wonder if I can get DH to chop down a tree for heart wood and try his hand at carving a love spoon? Hum…move over egg coddlers, I think a new collection might be forming!