Sunday, January 11, 2009

Outward and Visible Symbols

We all keep them around — those little things that remind us of other things. Most married couples wear rings that, according to wedding ceremonies, represent “outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual bond. I come across my old wedding ring from time to time. It reminds me that I need to trade it in for money!

I recently took inventory of some of my most prized outward and visible symbols (OVS). My beloved pom-pom Barbie doll is a very important OVS to me these days for she recognizes and celebrates all my accomplishments, even when they go unnoticed by others. By pressing or squeezing a few buttons on the apparatus attached to Barbie’s back, I can get Ms. Barbie to twirl, throw up her pom-poms and do some high kicks — all the while cheering, “Good job, Mary Gordon! Way to go, Mary Gordon!” I must admit that I provide the cheers while Barbie is cavorting, dressed in her very stylish cheerleading outfit. Still, I take her praise to heart.

My current most valuable OVS is a picture I took on a beautiful July morning after my two-year-old grandson William and I had harvested the day's tomato crop. We had followed our precise ritual of picking the tomatoes, putting them in a green bowl, washing them, and eating them. I snapped the picture after he had removed his treasured red boots and before he moved on to the washing and eating stages. This picture captures the essence of being a grandmother and reminds me that "the only two things money can’t buy — that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.” (Thanks, Guy Clark!)

Rocks used to dominate my OVS collection. I’ve repented for hauling off some big rocks from construction sites that had been cordoned off with yellow tape. Those rocks remind me that my house will never be featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. A small rock that I pulled from the Colorado River around Bend, Texas sits on a glass shelf above my kitchen sink. When I brought it home as an OVS five years ago, it had some major, major significance. I can’t remember what it was. Now it reminds me that I am never alone: I’ve got my rock to keep me company.

Hanging on my bedroom door is a 4” x 6”

Mexicana Airlines baggage tag that I’ve kept from a trip to Mexico in 1988. It says,” EQUIPAJE EN CONEXION.” It’s an OVS that I can save a Mexicana Airlines baggage tag for 20 years, and that there are connecting pathways everywhere.

When I’m feeling unconnected and I’m wondering about the meaning of life, a quick glance at an OVS lifts my spirits like nothing can. “Good job, Mary Gordon!”


  1. Good job, Mary Gordon.

    Welcome to the blogging world. I'm going to tweet you!

  2. Well, Mary G. ............It is about time that the ultimate writer has a blog! good for you. As for my OVS...I count you as one of my most fun and long-enduring friends that I have collected over the years. I will also send you a picture soon of my grandchildren. I just love collecting you also enjoy! Grandchildren...and children ...are the best!from Patti Jordan Love to you and I will be a faithful reader. I still need to tell you about our adventure when Peg uttered what is now as often used family expression, "Are we where we are?"
    love again!

  3. “Good job, Mary Gordon! Way to go, Mary Gordon!”

    I am so glad you are blogging!!!

    - Lorie

  4. So glad to read your wonderful blog and meant to drop you a note after your last Statesman editorial. I've also held on to my original Barbie, but never saw the cheerleading one! My Barbie is still with Allen after all these years. My sister's Barbie was with Ken, and I didn't want there to be any more competition in our house than there already was. I give Barbie credit for my fashion sense and ability to accessorize.
    Mary Gordon, I've said it before and I'll say it again: you must apply for Andy Rooney's job. He can't hold on too much longer. CBS is probably already starting the search! SGM

  5. Welcome to the blogosphere MG!!! Now I've hooked your blog to my blog, so there are even more connecting pathways! XXOO