Dolly’s jug

Kate Price pic

Tuesday 3rd March 2020

This is almost “people’s art”. As you can see, it is a simple , though for me at least, pleasingly crafted china jug. I like to fill it with daffodils at this time of year. The reason I have chosen it is because it was given to our family by a lovely lady called Dolly Watkins. Dolly was the fourth of seven children born in the area around Monmouth in the Wye Valley. I lived there as a child and Dolly used to come in once a week to help my mother with ironing and cleaning silver.

Our cleaning lady Mrs Wellington used to refer to Dolly as “prim and prompt” (!) – quite affectionately. And I saw what she meant. Dolly was quiet and studious. She had not had the benefit of much education but she had a good mind. She had never married because she had elected to stay at home and care for her ageing parents. Her siblings had all married. As a teenager, I thought this was a horrific fate and asked her about it. She looked at me tranquilly and replied: “Well, you know, your parents do so much for you. They look after you when you are small. This was the least I could do.” My fifteen year old self was impressed. And today during church, I reflected on Dolly (we all called her Miss Watkins of course); I reflected that in her way, in a small but significant way, her selflessness was Christ-like in that she put the needs of others before her own. She gave all she had. And not only that, she appears to have done so in an ungrudging way. There was no bitterness. Christ gave his life for us – totally undeserved. Dolly gave her time and her love to her parents, thereby also allowing her siblings to bring up their families. Through her example, I could see something of the love of God.

I will never forget her quiet self composure. And when she retired, she gave us this vase, which had been in her family for a long time. My parents treasured it. It was still in my parents’ house after the death of my mother. So now, every spring, I fill it with flowers and think of Dolly Watkins.

Kate Price

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