Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Jeffrey Box4: Hot Air and Heirlooms.

First of all, a little addendum to last night’s Jeffrey Box post. I must mention something I wrote in my letter from Quebec (where they only sell beer in bottles!!)

In reporting how hot it was there (it was June if I remember correctly) I wrote that ‘the wind is warmer than the air.’ Isn’t that just the dumbest thing you ever heard? I mean, if getting BC backwards is fit to raise a titter, saying that the wind is warmer than the air should have you collapsed in hysterics. I know what I meant to say, I just didn’t say it right. Maybe the bottles were bigger than I thought they were, and I'd drunk ten of them when I should have stopped at eight.

However, to continue with tonight’s little discovery:

One of the things I found in the JB is a rather classy, though somewhat jaded, leather-bound copy of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. It has my dad’s name written inside the cover, but it must predate him by some way because there’s a page dedicated to finding out the date of Easter ‘up to and including the year 1899.’ It must have been his father’s at least, probably his grandfather’s. And then he must have passed it onto me, hence why it’s in the Jeffrey Box. I don’t remember him doing that and he decamped in the direction of a much younger woman when I was 5½, but I suppose he must have done. That means I have an old family heirloom which I never knew about. Neat, eh?

But there was another discovery to be made inside the book. It’s a little rectangular bookmark in transparent red plastic with gold decoration and text. It shows a picture of Jesus on the side of a chalice, and each side of the vessel are written two statements:

O Amour de mon Jésus
Vous êtes mon amour

Below the chalice is written:

O Coeur enflamé de Jésus
Enflammez aussi mon Coeur

And along the bottom we have:


I think you might have gathered that I’m not exactly a devoted Christian myself, but this thing is rather sweet. And it raises two mysteries. Firstly, I never knew my father had the slightest interest in religion. Secondly, I never knew he’d been to Paris. (I doubt you would have got such a thing in England back then.) My mother once told me that he’d been to Europe before he met her, doing relief work in Berlin after the war she said, so maybe he made a side trip to Paris while he was there. Or maybe somebody gave it to him, which, small matter though it might be, is still something I find intriguing.

And a little postscript:

The bookmark is placed at the end of the section on ‘Solemnization of Matrimony.’ Given what I said earlier, that’s a little ironic.

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