Mysterious Ways: A Priceless Heirloom, Lost for Good?

Could God give me the one thing I wanted most for Christmas?

Posted in , Dec 10, 2013

A vintage sewing chest

I turned down a row of end tables, peering around every corner. There were hundreds of cabinets, dressers, nightstands, but nothing like what I was searching for. This is ridiculous, I thought. Maybe it’s time to let go of the sewing chest.

My sister-in-law, Debi, and I had decided to stop by the antiques mall on our drive home from Christmas shopping in Kansas City. Antiquing was our favorite hobby. We strolled through the mall, navigating the aisles of lamps, armoires and ottomans. Debi fell in love with an ornate secretary’s desk. But I could think of only one thing I wanted–the sewing chest. I hadn’t seen it in ten years, but I remembered every detail.

My father had given it to my mother for Christmas in 1943, right before he went off to World War II. A small wooden cabinet on four legs with a button on the side that opened a secret compartment. Growing up, I’d sit by Mom’s side, surrounded by layers of organza and taffeta, and watch her create church dresses, Halloween costumes, even clothes for my dolls on her Singer sewing machine.

While she sewed, I’d open the secret compartment in the chest and spin the colorful spools of thread hidden inside. Years later, Mom passed it down to me. I had the cabinet repaired and refinished, but didn’t touch the rest. The nicks and scratches gave it character. It was a treasured heirloom.

Then my house was robbed. Insurance covered my losses, but the sewing cabinet? That was irreplaceable. In all my years of searching since, I hadn’t seen anything else like it. Why would I expect it to be here?

I sighed and walked back towards Debi, who was still examining the desk. Behind her, a few rows back, I noticed the foot of a small table sticking out into the aisle. I walked towards it.

It was a small wooden cabinet on four legs, nicked and scratched with age. I ran my hand along the top and pressed the button on its side.

A drawer with spools of thread popped out–the repair work had held up nicely.

The saleslady couldn’t recall where it had come from, but she gave me a discount. I brought my sewing chest back home, just in time for Christmas.

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