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Final Gift From Gram

A change in plans leads to a gift from the heart



The author’s mother and daughter smile in a vintage photo, while Zoë holds the promised heart necklace in the palm of her hand today.

My mother was famous for her fumbled quotes and one-liners. A favorite among her boiler-plate standards was “God works in strange ways.” I’m not exactly sure what was at work one particularly fine summer day a few years ago, but there is no question that I had a heavenly visit from my late mom. 

It was July 2015, a typically busy day with my garden crew. Best-laid plans were overruled by the needs of clients’ gardens following a triumphant spring. I’d expected to tend to three properties that day, but as the hours flew by, I could see I needed to make changes. Switching gears, I told my foreman that we’d save time if I went to the nursery for supplies instead of him. Not in the plan, but it made sense. I raced to the nursery, arriving just before closing. As a loader filled my truck, I jogged inside to pay. I handed over my credit card and realized that the usual woman was not at the counter. Instead, I was greeted by Jo. We exchanged pleasantries, and she told me she was just filling in for a few days. It was then that I noticed her necklace. 

Like a shot to my own heart, a diamond heart dangled from a chain around her neck. “Wow! My mom had a necklace just like that,” I told her. My head flooded with memories of my mother playing with my girls. I flashed to my eldest daughter, Zoë, as a toddler sitting on her lap, gently tugging the gold chain around Mom’s neck. She’d slip the diamond heart on her tiny finger like a ring, staring at the sparkly stones, drooling as if she knew diamonds are a girl’s best friend. I told Jo that my mom would hold Zoë on her lap and say, “Yes, Gramma is giving this to Zoë one day!” For years she’d repeat that, as if to tell any interested onlookers, “Hands off. This one’s spoken for.” Smiling at the thought, Jo asked “So did she give it to her?”

I explained that my mother had passed away a few years earlier, but I had the necklace in safekeeping. I was just waiting for the right time to give it to Zoë. “How old is she now?,” Jo asked. My body relaxed, and I felt a familiar love—a sensation so achingly tender. “Actually, she’ll be 21…tomorrow,” I answered. I felt as if my mother was suddenly standing right there next to me.     

Jo looked at me thoughtfully and said “Angela, I have to tell you something. I haven’t worn this necklace in at least five years. I have no idea why I put it on this morning. Look at me! I’m wearing a dirty t-shirt with holes in it. What possessed me to put this necklace on today?”

We both knew. 

I strayed from my plan that day. Jo didn’t even work there; she was just filling in. And for some reason, she dolled herself up with that rarely worn diamond heart necklace. To go to work in a dusty, dirty nursery yard. And no doubt about it, I was supposed to be there to see it. For Zoë, turning 21 the next day. Of course. 

Mom would have said, “Honey, God works in strange ways.”

When we lose someone dear, the void is never filled. We try to spackle the cracks in our broken hearts with loving memories, but nothing can ever really mend them. That’s what true love is. Sometimes there is a convergence of then and now, a divine intervention that—if we are lucky enough—hits us over the head with an energy so obvious, there’s no denying it.  

Nothing could wipe the smile off my face when I left the nursery that day. 

I hopped in the truck and sensed Mom riding right next to me. I smiled and waved as someone cut me off on Rt. 117. I smiled and waved at the cop hiding behind the tall grasses, just waiting to ticket someone. (Not me! Not today!) I smiled and waved at everyone. I was fabulously, profoundly, abundantly happy. I had an undeniable visit from my mom. And, I had the greatest-of-all birthday gifts for Zoë. “No ifs, ands, or buts about it,” as Mom would say.

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April 2018

The annual Bedford Spring Antiques Show will take place on Saturday, April 14th and Sunday, April 15th at the Harvey School in Katonah. The show is open to the public on Saturday, April 14th...

Cost: $20

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The Harvey School
260 Jay Street
Katonah , NY  10536
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Sponsor: St. Matthews Church
Telephone: 914-234-9636
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Cost: $30, $40, $60, $80, $85

Where:
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Road
Katonah, NY  10536
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Sponsor: Caramoor
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Contact Name: Caroline Andrews
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New Haven photographer Raymond Smith will present a lecture titled “I Am a Camera,” which will be followed by a Q&A and book signing. The reception is at 3:00 pm, followed...

Cost: Free for Museum members and students (with valid ID); non-members $15

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Music from Copland House salutes one of America's foremost flutists, Paul Lustig Dunkel, who left a major legacy at Copland House, throughout Westchester, and beyond. This program features...

Cost: $25, $20 (Friends), $10 (Students)

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Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
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Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
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The Sanctuary Series, dedicated to presenting extraordinary keyboard recitals in the historic hamlet of South Salem welcomes Frederic Chiu. Mr. Chiu has been described as “a stunningly...

Cost: $15 to $50

Where:
South Salem Presbyterian Church
111 Spring Street
South Salem, NY  10590
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Sponsor: The Sanctuary Series
Telephone: 914 763 5402
Contact Name: Mary Jane Newman
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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
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By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

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Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
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Robin Jaffee Frank, Ph.D., organizer of the exhibition World War I Beyond the Trenches (New-York Historical Society, May-September 2017) and former Chief Curator of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of...

Cost: $10 non-members; Members and students free

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Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Cost: $85.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
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Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
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Cost: free

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Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
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Contact Name: Cynthia
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Cost: Free

Where:
Department of Social Services
112 E Post Road
White Plains, NY  10601
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Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: 914-997-6700
Contact Name: Toyae Liverpool
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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

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The Bedford Chamber Concert Series presents “Big Music for Small Ensembles”, with premiere performances of two pieces composed by Music Director Anthony Newman--an Overture and Concerto...

Cost: $40 per person

Where:
St. Matthew's Church Fellowship Hall
382 Cantitoe Street
Bedford, NY  10506
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Sponsor: Music Committee of St. Matthew's
Telephone: 914-522-5150
Contact Name: Anthony Newman
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Registration Closes - Wednesday, April 18th Meets - 6 consecutive Thursdays, April 19th through May 24th  Grades 5 and up, Parents welcome to attend - Please register separately...

Cost: $299

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792
Cross River, NY  10518
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Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 191-497-74243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
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Registration Closes: Wednesday, April 18th Denaye Barahona is the voice behind Simple Families--a blog, podcast, and community helping mothers to thrive through simple living and minimalism. She...

Cost: $40.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
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Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
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By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

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Cost: FREE

Where:
Oak&Oil Gallery
89 Katonah Avenue
Katonah, NY  10536
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Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 914-232-8100
Contact Name: Giovanna
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"3 Exhibits 6 Artists​" The second exhibit of a series of three! April 20th to May 20th. Opening Reception Friday April 20 from 5:30-8:30 Linda Puiatti is a landscape painter living...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Oak&Oil Gallery
89 Katonah Avenue
Katonah, CT  10536
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Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 191-423-28100
Contact Name: Giovanna
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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

"3EXHIBTS 6ARTISTS" a series of three shows featuring two artists each, started in March and it will continue until June.  Second  exhibit will open on Friday April 20...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Oak&Oil Gallery
89 Katonah Avenue
Katonah, CT  10536
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Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 914-232-8100
Contact Name: Giovanna
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Cost: $50

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Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
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An Early Childhood Discovery Fair will be held Saturday, April 21 from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. for toddlers, preschoolers and their parents.  The Discovery Fair is a guided, hands-on...

Cost: Free

Where:
New Canaan Country School
635 Frogtown Rd
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: New Canaan Country School
Telephone: (203) 801-5608
Contact Name: Cathy Schinella
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Ages: Teens & Adults Registration Closes - Wednesday, April 18th Brenna is a mixed media artist and teacher with over 25 years of experience teaching both children and adults. Her work has been...

Cost: $55.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
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Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
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Join Grace Farms Foundation in celebrating the biodiversity of nature this Earth Day. Explore Grace Farms’ 80-acre preserve and enjoy programs and activities highlighting the importance of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Grace Farms Foundation
Telephone: 203-920-1702
Contact Name: Regan Hayes
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By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Registration Closes - Wednesday, April 18th Are you looking for a new creative outlet or simply a relaxing activity to unwind from the week? Then this brush calligraphy workshop is for you!...

Cost: $60.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE

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89 Katonah Avenue
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View map »


Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 914-232-8100
Contact Name: Giovanna
Website »

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