Today's ordinary thing is inspired by this photograph of my mother. A curly-haired three-year-old by the seashore, her feet wouldn't hold still in their sandy shoes. She smiles a squinty smile after digging in the sand. I wonder if there is something in her closed fist - a skittering bug, a soft new crab, or a seashell.

In the other hand she holds a spoon.

In 1933 children didn't need a pink-and-green plastic matching bucket-and-shovel set to have a glorious time exploring the beach. A spoon was just fine, thank you.

Oh, to have your spoon ready to dig up the surprises and flavors of life. A spoon is a useful, often charmed thing, whether for food or a myriad other purposes. Mother was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth: she lived a difficult life shadowed by the stigma of mental illness. This moment of spooned-up joy shows the wonder of her being, despite all the challenges yet to come.

Write about a spoon.

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