Angels Watch do Keep

While setting up for the Hospice of Haines spring rummage sale yesterday I noticed shelves of angels. A whole collection of porcelain, ceramic, and glass angels of all sizes and shapes, from the very ornate golden-winged and colored-gowned Victorians, to the naked, fat garden-cupid variety, were on display in the front of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood Hall. Jennifer was arranging them artfully for sale on the makeshift shelves with her newest cherub in a carrier on her back. (She has eight children, I think, with number nine on the way, and remains cheerful and angelic in spite of the work and worry of a large family, so she was a fitting volunteer for the task.) Anyway, Jennifer said that after she had the angels unpacked and dusted-- they all had a trace of very fine powder on them-- there was an emergency phone call. Apparently a small tin of ashes had been mistakenly sent off to the rummage sale in a box with the angels. They belonged to the donor's uncle. Jennifer said she panicked, momentarily (luckily she is not a screamer), thinking that perhaps the fine dust on the angels had been all that remained of the beloved uncle. "Thank goodness it wasn't," Jennifer said, smiling. "We found the tin and it was still full."  It was also small, and not the whole uncle, she noted, just a bit to remember him by. No doubt he'd had many angels watching over him in life and even in death. By tomorrow those angels will have been dispersed all over town, in much the same way Hospice of Haines volunteers are, and here's the best part--they will have helped the hospice volunteers and staff who do the very same thing all year long, thanks to the funds their sale will bring to the organization. You know how Thoreau wrote that his firewood warmed him twice? Once in the splitting and once in the burning? Well, these angels, it seems, have blessed us at least that many times.


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