Odd Prompts – Week 18

This week’s prompt from Cedar was a fun one:  You inherit an old oil lamp from your grandfather. The tall glass ones you fill with oil and use a wide wick, from the 1800s. When you rub it, what emerges?

Ah yes, echoes of Aladdin.  I like the story of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp.  I still have a copy in one of my old children’s story books in the library.

I also have a fondness for oil lamps.  I have two that I inherited from my mother.  My sister has two that she inherited from her mother-in-law.  Unfortunately, the chimneys are very fragile so only two are still intact.

This one fell into place rather quickly.

Thank you for such a fun prompt Cedar.  I had fun working on this.


The package arrived on a hectic day.  I ran in from work, put the box on the table and headed back out to a meeting.  When I got home, I saw it sitting there, reminding me that I still had things to do.  I took care of the bills and glanced at the return address label.  It was from one of my cousins, one I’d spoken to only a couple of times since I stopped going to the reunions.  Those reunions just hadn’t been the same since Gram had passed.

With a sigh I set to opening the box.  It was marked Fragile on every side, so I made sure to be careful.  Inside the box was a second box that was ringed by those damnedable Styrofoam peanuts.  I carefully pulled the inner box out, desperately trying not to drag any of the peanuts out with it, a few managed to escape despite my efforts.  There was an envelope taped to the top of the box, inside was a note from my cousin Rose.

“Hi Shay.  Sorry you couldn’t make it down for Grandpa Clyde’s funeral.  I saw this sitting on the dresser and remembered that he’s said he wanted you to have it.  Give me a call.”

My hands shook as I started to open the box.  I thought I knew what was inside, I wasn’t sure if I would be more pleased to be right or wrong.  If I was right, it meant that a part of my life really was over.  If I was wrong, then someone else had it.

With the lid removed, I looked inside holding my breath.  There, wrapped in layers of packing material and padded by bubble wrap, I could see two objects.  One was about 3” and roughly spherical, the other was 8” tall and cylindrical.  It was what I had thought it was.

I closed the box, sat back and wept.  I know Grandpa Clyde was gone, at least intellectually; I’d been out of the country at the time and hadn’t been able to attend the funeral.  This brought home the reality.  The lamp had belonged to Gram.  It had been a wedding present that sat on her dresser for use during emergencies.  When the power went out, she could always find her way to the dresser to light it.  The warm light had soothed many a youngster’s night fears.

I loved Grandpa Clyde, but Gram had been my best buddy growing up.  When sickness had kept me home from school, she was the one who sat by my bed reading.  Now they were both gone, I’d lost the last tie to my youth.

I set the box aside and went to bed; there was time enough to deal with memories later.

It took me a couple of days to get back to the box.   This time I was ready, or so I hoped.  I sat on my bed and slowly unwrapped the packing material.  The spherical object was the base that looked like a teapot with no spout.  Time had turned the white to a dusty yellow, but otherwise it was in great shape; the roses and leaves still held their color.  The chimney came out of the other wrapping, also in excellent condition.  It was a bit dusty, but there were no cracks or chips.  They looked almost exactly like what I remembered.  Carefully nested between them was the brass fitting, a clean wick and reservoir that held the oil.  Misty eyes I laid them on the bed and looked at them.  There was a spot on my dresser that would fit perfectly.  Picking up the damp cloth I set to wiping away some of the dust.

“New lamps for old.  New Lamps for old,” I quoted.  I could almost hear Gram reading the story of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp.  Not the Disney version, the real one; the one that was set in western China.  If I’d been Aladdin’s wife, I would not have traded the lamp.  “If only.”  I wiped the dry cloth over the surface and smiled.  “If only.  One more day, to say goodbye, to say I love you.  One last story.”  For the briefest of moments I thought I could smell her perfume.  I checked over the base, looking for scratches or damage, then gently fitted the reservoir inside.

After I cleaned the chimney I took them over to the dresser.  I filled the reservoir and assembled the lamp. One a whim I lit the wick and put the chimney in place.  A warm glow filled the room.  I closed my eyes and sighed.  Yeah, the perfect keepsake.

“What would you like to hear tonight, dear?”

I wrapped my arms against my chest and slowly turned, tears forming in my eyes.  “The tales of Scheherazade.”  I looked into the deep brown eyes and the gentle smile.

“Well, now, that is a very long story.”

“I know.”  I nodded and moved towards my bed.

“They shall we begin.”  She sat down and opened a book and then waited for me to get settled down.  “The Story of King Shahryar and His Brother.”

Leigh Kimmel ended up with my photo prompt  – a picture of the Shuttle Discovery at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles Virginia that I title “Grounded”.

2 thoughts on “Odd Prompts – Week 18

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s