I couldn't help but notice her earrings. They were made of a yellow gold, the kind of gold they have in Europe. Suspended from a simple loop was a tiny clear glass bead with what looked like a smaller bead inside. I thought I knew what was inside that bead. So I just had to ask.
I like your earrings, I said to her.
And then I said, I was wondering is that a mustard seed in them.
I could tell I really surprised her. Yes, it turns out it was a mustard seed and she wanted to know how I knew that.
I told her my mother had a similar pair of earrings (but definitely not real gold) when I was a girl and I was fascinated when Mom would point out that the mustard seed was the smallest seed on earth. (Since I've been gardening I know that isn't true.) Mom would tell the story that if you had faith, even faith the size of a mustard seed, you would get into heaven.
This lady loved that story and told me her own involving faith and mustard seeds. Her version was that if you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could move mountains.
Those earrings were a gift from her parents. They were in her ears when she came to Canada fifty years ago when she was twenty-four she told me.
Turned out she had come from Italy to be married to her cousin's friend.
How did that work out for you? I asked.
Oh good, she said. She told me her cousin had really looked out for her and picked a good guy.
When I asked what she missed about her youth in Italy her answer surprised me.
"I miss climbing trees. I was a tomboy and loved climbing trees just like my brothers," she said with a laugh.
Now for me my fear of heights must have set in early because I don't remember ever climbing a tree in my life.
She looked like a woman who would know her way around a kitchen. I was just forming a question about tiramisu when her name was called and with a little wave to me, she left.
I really, really hope she is alright.
This is one of our fields, about May month. The wild mustard grows first, then the soybeans.
It looks like a field of pure sunshine.
Nice to look at in January.