The Village Goldsmith
"Did you hear that Mister Casseretti died?"
"No, not really." I replied, slipping my shawl off
my shoulders, and taking the cup of tea from
"He died a few months ago," mother continued,
"It all happened when you were visiting the
States." I live in the US - the "States" - as
mother calls them, and have for years. I visit
Britain, but, to my mother, I am forever 'visiting'
"I'm sorry to hear that," I replied. "He was
quite a village goldsmith."
"He was." said mother. And then she smiled and
sat at her kitchen table with me. "Mister
Casseretti wanted you to have one of his gold
pieces. I have it here." And mother pushed a
small green velvet-covered box towards me.
"Mother!" I said. "I can't possibly even take
that... I mean, I can't. I mean, with all the
troubles that you've had with father gone... with
all the troubles I am having with my spouse...
you know we've separated.... No, I can't. I
Mother moved her hands away from the velvet.
I suddenly realized mother's hands were very
old and the light showed wrinkles and valleys
tracing the back of her hand.
We both sat very still for a time. The silence
seemed far too awkward, so I spoke, "Mister
Casseretti told me once, that he wanted to be
like his father."
"Really?" replied mother pushing some of her
hair aside. I noticed that mother's hair was
much more gray than ever before...
approaching white and becoming sparse. She
continued, "I knew his father."
"Oh, yes." I said, finally putting the cup of tea on
the table top. "It was years and years ago... a
summer before school began... and he saw me
through his store window... this young girl just
staring at all his jewelry on display... in the
center of the village, on Yorkshire Lane."
"And?" asked mother.
"Well, he waved me inside. So, in I went. We
chatted for bit - him with his Italian accent... he
was sometimes hard to understand, you know.
Mother then said, "He and his father came here
years ago, just as Mussolini came into power.
They fled from Rome."
"I guess," I continued, "As a child, I really never
thought about the history, back then, I mean."
"Of course." said mother.
I was silent again for a moment. And then, I
recalled the scene so many summers ago. I
continued, "Well, he asked if I'd like to see a
'casting' - I didn't even know what it was, but I
wanted to be polite, you know, so I said 'yes'.
And then, he showed me a piece of wax he had
carved... he said that it was a 'practice piece'
and that the final piece was within the plaster...
and then he pointed to a white square-like
I paused, for I could almost see the plaster mold
in my mind.
"And then...?" said mother, as if allowing time
for me to recall the other parts of my childhood
"He said that he had taken melted gold, hot from
the furnace, and poured it into the plaster. And
then, he somehow parted the plaster in front of
me -- and there, in the center was a piece of
darkish gold." I paused, and then said, "It was
like magic, mother."
"I suppose it was like magic to a child." mother
I continued, "He took the piece, mother, and
polished it from cloth to cloth, and all the darkish
color left. With some very odd tools, he brushed
it and it shone."
"Well?" asked mother, "What was the piece
"It was a fisherman in a boat." I replied. "I
remember thinking it was one of the most
fantastic things I had ever seen!"
"He was a very good goldsmith," said mother,
"Maybe he made that piece for someone down
"Oh, I don't really know." I replied. "But I
remember he said to me, 'You know why I gotta
be a goldsmith?' I said, 'no', and he continued,
'Because I wanna be like my father. Thata
metal - thata gold! Gold issa melted in the
furnace; gold issa poured into a mold; gold issa
polished. You getta me?"
I laughed for a moment, since I could hear his
favorite phrase, '... you getta me?' almost like
Mister Casseretti was in the kitchen with mother
"I guess," I said, "His father must have been a
There was a pause in the conversation, and I
reached for my tea.
"Darling," said mother, "I knew his father -- his
father was a truck driver, not a goldsmith."
"What?" I said, the tea almost to my lips.
"Elder Casseretti delivered milk to our village
and to several others in a lorry - a small truck.
His son, Mister Casseretti, became a goldsmith
by apprenticing in Rome and later in London. In
time, he returned to our village, and opened his
goldsmith shop here."
"But he said he wanted to be like his father?" I
Mother paused, and then replied, "Mister
Casseretti was a church-goer. When he spoke
about "his Father", he meant God - his Heavenly
I listened, trying to think... but really no words
"Well," said Mother, "He spoke up at the church
once, I heard him, and he said the same thing --
he wanted to be like gold in the furnace, willing
to be poured into the mold of Christ, and then
polished by whatever people and circumstances
God brushed him with.... do you see?"
I was silent again. But somehow, things seemed
Mother brushed some of her hair aside - I
noticed how rich and full her hair seemed to be.
She pushed the green velvet-colored box
further towards me - I noticed how strong and
beautiful her hands seemed.
"Young lady," she said, "You have a box to take
home, don't you?"
"Yes, mother," I replied. I placed the box in my
bag - the large purse, and we chatted some
more. She teased me that my accent was nearly
gone, now that I had 'visited' the States so long.
We parted that eve, and I drove to the
bed-and-breakfast that was serving as my hotel.
I sat on the bed in my room, sank deeply into the
overstuffed feather mattress, and reached into
my purse. Out came the green velvet-covered
box. I opened it.
Inside, was a miniature gold piece -- a fisherman
in a boat.
It was hard to see the miniature, after all, my
eyes seemed to get very wet. But Brit girls
don't really cry, you know. It's somehow not
quite proper, you see.
An hour later, I remember picking up the phone,
and calling my spouse. "You know," I said,
"maybe I left too quickly... hard times are
sometimes like a furnace, don't you think?.... the
'heat', so to speak, was a bit too much, and I'm
sorry for what I said... maybe we can remold
what we have... and polish it into something
more beautiful than before."
May our Father bless you, S. , during this time in
the furnace of grieving and the furnace of being
one of us. May He recast you into His image,
and polish you with the love you share with
Much love in Christ;
(c) Copyright Caryn LeMur 2006
|The Collection of Short Works,
Letters, and Poems
The Village Goldsmith
I composed this short work for S.,
a person very involved with the
S.'s father had just passed away.
I so wanted to write her a poem,
but then, my several attempts at
I was upset at all my failures.
After more short and stumbling
prayers, I kept seeing this
goldsmith working in his shop -- a
persistent picture in my
So, I simply wrote all that I "saw"
and "heard" in my mind. Like
taking notes, I suppose.
But when I finished the story, and
sent it to the yahoo group,
TG-Christians , (where S. and I
meet) I was not certain if the
story was for her ... or if it was for
You decide, ok? <smile>
|In Deepest Sympathy -
Poetry for those that grieve
|Building Faith, Hope, & Love -
Stories and Writings
|A Cup Of Cold Water -
Letters For The Thirsty
|A Pause In The Forest -
Poetry for thoughtful moments