The Globe Lamp

For my entire childhood and then some, it was the night watchman in my Nana’s living room. As true and trustworthy as the moon, each night it sat on the table by the picture window with its dim glow keeping the shadows at bay.

Like most everything in the house, that old lamp had sat on tables in living rooms for decades. It sat among the antique couch and old piano; its light shone on verse after verse of bibles with wear and tear from years of quiet times and Sunday school lessons. Occasionally it moved from its duty station for a Christmas tree filled with homemade ornaments, but it was never far away.

I remember Papa coming home from church meetings and seeing that light cast a shadow as he walked by the room I was supposed to be sleeping in. I remember laying on Mama’s lap as she used the lamp light to give me eye drops the night of Papa’s funeral.

When Nana moved up on the mountain, it was a sort of lighthouse lamp guiding us along the windy country road at night making sure we didn’t miss the driveway. It served as our moon when we sat on the porch swing listening to the thunder roll across the fields.

There are probably millions of lamps just like it that sat in living rooms just like Nana’s. Some of them were used for a while and then thrown away, while others probably collect dust in someone’s attic somewhere. All of those lamps, wherever they ended up, could tell the story of America if they had the chance. They could tell of love letters written on their tables and draft notices read in their glow. They could tell of children being born and then bringing their own children home.

You might say I’m silly and I’m making a fuss over an inanimate object. And you might be right, but I’d rather be silly than go the rest of my life reading a book in the glow of a $20 lamp that will last a few years before it leans over and breaks.

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