It was a square of that meshy-grippy fabric that most people use in kitchen cupboards or drawers to keep things from moving and sliding around. Just a square, a bit bigger than my hand. This was and remains to this day my favorite wedding gift.
The giver was my grandmother.
It was delivered without wrapping paper, without bags or bows. She didn't shower me with advice, nor did she bother telling me stories from her life. She simply gave me a smile and a hug and assured me that the life I was taking on would be beautiful, and worth it, and that this little slip of fabric that she pressed into my hand would be useful. "You won't always have a man around to help you open jars and such." She said. "This will help."
Soon afterwards my sweet and funny and smart grandmother was tossed into the firm grasp of Alzheimer's. This memory, of her handing me this square of fabric is my last memory of HER her. Within a year's time she wouldn't remember my name nor my relation to her.
Her time slipped away, but mine has pressed forward and she means more to me every year though we said our goodbyes a long time ago. I have used this little square of fabric more times than I could possibly count, because she was right. And as I follow this military man around our country, the very same way she did with her husband -a man I never met thanks to Vietnam- I learn it wasn't just a scrap of fabric she left me. It was her legacy. Something practical. Something of independence. Something that demands strength but allows for a little bit of weakness too.
I wish she had left me her stories, but ultimately I guess she didn't need to because she was enough.
So I keep this little scrap of fabric in a drawer in my kitchen, and pull it out when I need it, and sometimes to open the lids of jars.