If you know me, you’ll know I love to wear turquoise. That sky blue stone, shot through with red mineral veins, reminds me of the Wild West and the years I spent out there as a younger woman.

I’ve been gifted all the turquoise I wear. The first I ever wore came in a tiny silver ring. Mama gave it to me for my 11thChristmas. It wasn’t a Barbie Country Camper, so I was a little disappointed at the time. But as I grew up and left Barbies in the past, the ring stayed with me, eventually landing on my pinkie finger.

My favorite piece came from a woman named Dora who had adventured out west in the 1950’s. As a memento of her trip, she bought a Squash Blossom necklace with deep blue turquoise and hand crafted silver beads and ornaments. She bought it from a roadside stand out in the desert. I can just imagine her in her prime of life, top down and cruising through red rock cliffs and along desert roads. She would have passed a sign that read “Jewelry.” When she stopped, she would have found traditionally dressed Navajo artists, sitting on richly patterned wool rugs, displaying their fabulous jewelry, maybe listening to a baseball game on their transistor radio.

Dora was a very particular person. She was a master knitter so she would have had an eye for detail as she examined each of the offerings. When she gifted it to me many years later she told me that she chose the Squash Blossom because the turquoise was her favorite color. Autumnal Sky Blue.

I moved out west when I was a young woman, amazed by the red rock cliffs and endless skies. That’s when I met Granny Dora. I had known her for several months when she asked me to go with her back into her bedroom. She opened a drawer on the vanity and pulled out the Squash Blossom. She said, “You are starting the great adventure of your young life. I bought this when I started mine. I want you to have it.” I was overwhelmed by her generosity. Not only was it a costly gift. At the time it would have been worth around 3,000.00. It was a passing on of the love of adventure.

I worked with a geologist once from the Arizona Department of Natural Resources who admired the necklace. He told me that it was very old. “You could tell from the deepness of the color of the stone. That would have been mined in the ’30s or 40s.”

Because it was made of stone and silver, it was really heavy. And whenever I wore it, there was a wicked little wire that bit the skin on the back of my neck. It hurt, but any diva can tell you that fabulous fashion is worth the pain.

When I moved to Georgia, the land of special occasion strings of pearls, I still wore the Squash Blossom. That necklace so defined me that when Carrollton painter Ralph Van Pelt asked me to sit for a portrait, I wore the necklace. And when the marketing company I work for in Atlanta was shooting new photos for their website, I wore the necklace there too. I looked like a word shaman, with turquoise dripping from my neck.

After the photoshoot, I changed clothes and had to run an errand. I left my clothing in the car and didn’t want anybody to see the necklace so I pushed it down into the toe of my boot. When I returned home, I put all the clothing away. Hung up the tunic. Put the boots on the shelf.

Months later I wanted to wear the necklace but I couldn’t find it. I tore apart the house and looked in all my secret hiding places. I found everything else I’d misplaced over the past few years but didn’t find the necklace. So, I did what many of you do when you misplace something. I backtracked. I remembered the last day I’d worn it — to the photoshoot. I recalled the circumstances of running the errand. And Eureka, I remembered that I’d put it in the toe of the boots… which I had given away to Goodwill several months earlier.

For several days I was sick about it. First grief, then anger, and then acceptance. It was a hard loss, but at least it didn’t go into the landfill and someone, somewhere found it. Maybe Goodwill sold it and put the money towards Veteran’s Education at their learning facility. Maybe someone bought the boots and found the surprise of their life when they got them home.

Like the necklace had moved from Dora to me, it has transitioned to its new owner.

So, if you bought a necklace at Goodwill, a squash blossom with turquoise the color of a November sky and you’re out wearing it, if a tall lady with braids keeps staring at you, just know I have no hard feelings. I am celebrating your good fortune. It might hurt your neck a little while you’re wearing it, but it’s totally worth it.

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