Kristin Butcher

Looking a gift horse in the mouth

Most families have many heirlooms, and there is a reason they have been kept and passed along.

The dictionary defines an heirloom as a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.

Of course, its value need not be interpreted strictly in monetary terms.

Your great-great grandmother’s rolling pin could be an heirloom, because it has sentimental value.

Most families have many heirlooms, and there is a reason they have been kept and passed along.

Unfortunately, family members don’t always know what that reason is. Somewhere along the way, stories get lost or warped, until eventually an heirloom may simply become something that has been in the family for years.

The thing is you don’t usually know what will become an heirloom, until it is one. How does something that was once new and useful or beautiful or valuable become an heirloom, while other things merely fade away?

Here is one possibility—bizarre as it is.

My husband and I recently visited the dentist for our cleaning and checkup, and I was told I needed two old fillings replaced with crowns. I was asked if I wanted gold. I said that I did not. Having white fillings and crowns allows me to pretend my teeth are as perfect as when they first sprouted in my mouth.

After relating this story to my husband, he informed me that he has two gold crowns. How could I be married to the man for 46 years and not know this? Anyway, I didn’t, and he does.

Laughing, he said that perhaps he should leave one to each of our children.

I told him that was gross, which only encouraged him to start thinking about the idea more seriously.

So he texted the kids and asked them if they were interested. The replies came back almost immediately.

“Um … okay.”

And, “Hell, yeah!”

Clearly, they are their father’s children. I’m not sure how they’re going to go about getting the teeth. All I know is that I won’t be having any part of it.

Still, a hundred years from now, when these teeth are passed along to our great-great grandchildren, the accompanying stories will definitely be worth hearing.