The Golden Worm

January 06, 2012
By Holly Jennings

Every Christmas my Aunt Stephanie makes handmade ornaments. They are always made of cloth or paper, or often a combination of the two, and fit unassumingly into a common letter-size envelope, which carries them to friends and family members.

This past holiday’s handwork is a bird constructed of white paper using deceptively simple origami folds. In its beak is a small portion of golden twine.

“Look,” I said to Mike as I expectantly opened the annual envelope, “it must be the Golden Worm,” thinking to myself that it must be the early bird and the worm, except at Christmas, when dreams come true, it gets the Golden Worm.

“Uh, I think that supposed to be a dove with an olive branch,” Mike gently countered.

This provoked a rain of self-abuse: “Oh, I’m so stupid, so liter-minded. It’s hopeless. Metaphor it one of the tools of a good writer, and it seems to completely elude me.”

Mike argued that my interpretation was completely natural, now that I’m a Dowdy Corners farm girl with a big garden and chickens. “It’s how you see things now,” he said.

So let this be warning to you. Should you start to grow your own food and keep chickens, how you look at the world will be forever changed. And you may lose your sense of metaphor.

When I relayed my misidentification of the olive branch to Aunt Stephanie, she said graciously, “It’s open to interpretation.”

Leave a Reply