heas
30th
tidbit head
tid'bit', tit'bit': n. choice morsel

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treasures

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Index by Row
(2 tidbits per row)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

28
Tiny Treasures - 55

“Have you asked Catherine to marry you, yet? You’d better, before I get home at Christmas, and ask her. I’d bring her back to New Zealand, and teach her all sorts of new things.

"Up to you, bro. Kia kaha, man. It means, be strong, and go for it! Last warning!


"You two are made for each other. Even I saw that. Well, Charles told me, and then I got it. Beware the Kiwi! Don’t make me come up there and hurt you…”

Vincent read his brother’s letter again, before frowning at the enclosed magnet. Was it truly that simple?

kiwi
Tiny Treasures - 56

Vincent regarded the latest magnet, delivered in a plain white envelope.

The image was singularly beautiful and of another place he would never see, this time in New York. He turned it over and re-read the caption on the back.

Frank Lloyd Wright, architect. Interior view of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1959.”

It was evocative of his world, yet universal. Was it a message? Who knew this would intrigue him, get him thinking?


He only knew one candidate. He put that thought away; it was too disturbing. He dare not ask Catherine.

Vincent placed it carefully.


guggenheim
27
Tiny Treasures - 53

Father retrieved the magnet from the cluttered depths his bottom desk drawer. The giver had been long forgotten, but the words were still true.

He held it in his open palm, reading its timeless message.

“The heart never becomes wrinkled,” he whispered. “It remains as true and fresh, as the day it was born. The heart never becomes wrinkled, because love stretches its limits, and it is renewed every day. The heart never becomes wrinkled, for it knows not the hour of its own demise…”

It was perfect for Vincent’s growing collection. He stood, and limped out of his chamber.


heart
Tiny Treasures - 54

“This is from a little curio shop I found. It sells old postcards. I just knew you would love this one.” Catherine handed Vincent his new magnet.

“You know me too well.” Vincent smiled, shaking his head.

He reached beyond his love and added the new gift to his already crowded board.

“You have so many now.” Catherine moved closer. “It was such a small idea. How it has grown.”

“They show me a world I cannot see.” Vincent joined her. “They make me feel connected.”

“One day, Vincent, I will show you everything.”

“One day…” Vincent nodded, humouring her. 


postcard
26

Tiny Treasures - 51

Edie was in town, so Catherine invited her for lunch, her treat – partial repayment for all the vending machine lunches in the DA's office.

So they met at a new sushi bar and spent a couple of wonderful hours reminiscing. They vowed a repeat. On their way out, Catherine bought a unique magnet and tucked it into her purse.

Later that day she presented it to Vincent, who looked at it in puzzlement. It was certainly food, but what kind? Definitely not Chinese.

Catherine explained and promised to introduce it to him. Vincent, now intrigued, vowed to remind her.

sushi

Tiny Treasures - 52

Vincent remembered when he first kissed Catherine's hand, the one pricked by her rose bush. It had been a precious few moments.

So when he saw the tiny glass vases sitting on cotton wool in Annabelle's sewing chamber, an idea grew.

“Sarah is experimenting with glass-blowing,” the tiny seamstress told him.

Vincent told her what he wanted and she smiled.

“All easily found,” she remarked, and did so.

He placed the vase at the top of his magnet collection and waited.

The reaction was gratifying; Catherine gasped when she saw it.

“I remember,” she said kissing him.

vase

25

Tiny Treasures - 49

Vincent's magnet collection was growing and he feared he might soon run out of room. So it was with some relief that the small package he received one day indicated a smaller than usual contribution.

He opened it and to found a carved sea, sky and rocky shore with a lone tree. He smiled at the simple beauty of the scene.

But there was no note with it. Who had sent it? He waited for enlightenment.

Then one day Cullen visited and Vincent sensed this was the gift giver.

“Makes a change from chessmen,” Cullen admitted a little ruefully.

tree

Tiny Treasures - 50


Vincent pushed aside the pile of detritus with his boot-toe.

The alleyway was choked with rubbish. But, as he passed, a flash of white had caught his wandering attention.

He’d been heading Below, after sharing a meal with Catherine on her balcony.

The night was full of stars, beauty, and promise. He’d never felt more alive.

He bent down, and gathered the small button into his palm. He cleaned its face
ith a fingertip. A legend appeared, and a statuette figure of Lady Liberty.
Vincent read the words. “How appropriate.”

He slipped it into his pocket, before continuing his wanderings.

ny
24

Tiny Treasures - 47

Me again,

Thought you might enjoy one of the stranger places I went to. This place is on the northernmost tip of Denmark. To this tourist, it seems to be fixated somewhat on sand.

Yes, sand.

The white building is a church built on sand, where its predecessor was buried under sand dunes. The other is a tourist train to the very end of a sandy spit to look at, you guessed it, sand. Ocean too, of course.

Everything sparkling and shiny, but nothing compared to our waterfall below with the sun on it.

Am I getting a little homesick?

skagen

Tiny Treasures - 48

Samantha wanted to give Vincent a special magnet for his collection. 

She rummaged through the box of small things she had found in the Park. She smiled as she found the perfect one. It had likely fallen off a child's toy.

Mouse provided her with a small magnet and she handed her contribution to Vincent after a reading class.

He turned it this way and that to catch the light, its reflections glittering on the walls.

Beautiful, Samantha,” he smiled at her. “Now I'm a man with both a butterfly and a dream, proving that a certain philosopher* erred.”


butterfly

* Chuang-tzu

23

Tiny Treasures - 45

Catherine was happy and humming to herself as she worked on the Foundation accounts in her office. Her voice wasn't great, she knew it, but at least she wasn't off-key.

Maybe it was the prospect of less work over the summer, or being able to cool off in bathing pools below, or ...

She grabbed her purse and left to visit her favourite novelty shop. This time she knew exactly what she wanted.

She presented the magnet to Vincent after lunch, while softly singing a little tune as she handed it to him.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...”

sun

Tiny Treasures - 46

"Hi Bro,

Went to Switzerland somewhere along the way and had to buy this.

Its gotta have a story, so here's my take. 

See that cow? It got tired of having its cud chewing disturbed and kicked the two guys in their oversized pipes, which bent and hit them in the right (left?) eye. The third guy can't stop laughing. His buddy whacks him, so he matches the others. He waves his flag for help, but because of the sour notes, all they get are chocolate turds and plastic flowers thrown at them."

Vincent laughed until his stomach hurt - quietly.

switz

22

Tiny Treasures - 43

"Greetings little brother. You're probably tired of my postcard travelogues, so here's something a little different.

Found the enclosed in Italy and it reminded me of those fall nights when we went secretly into the Park hunting chestnuts. Remember? We picked up horse chestnuts too, for conkers.

We loved William's chestnut cake, if there were any left after we had peeled them. We used to roast them at Winterfest too. Do you still do that?

Italians know what to do with chestnuts, Vin. They're coated in white chocolate, soaked in liqueur, whipped into truffles, ground for tagliatelle and castagnaccio. Exquisite!"

chestnuts

Tiny Treasures -  44

Vincent was angry, especially with Mouse. Arthur had stolen his fountain pen and escaped via the upper pipe conduit in his chamber. Neither had been found.

Catherine looked up at the conduit. Vincent's reaction would have been ....!

She smiled and climbed the ladder to look around.

Eureka! She saw it lying on one of Lady Justice's scales. Her message quickly brought Vincent.

How?” he asked.

Your roar scared Arthur into dropping it,” Catherine guessed.

She gave him the magnet she had brought down.

I had better apologize to Mouse now,” Vincent remarked wryly as he read it.

smile

21

Tiny Treasures - 41

Catherine had worked long hours in the brownstone's Foundation office, registering tunnel children as wards, getting others adult identification, giving Father an official address, arranging for students to study above.

Vincent observed all this, amazed at the complexity of the world above – and thankful for Catherine's ability to manoeuvre in it.

And grateful that Jenny ensured his wife didn't spend ALL day in the office.

One day, Catherine showed him a gift from Jenny, commenting wryly that it was probably the first award for her profession.

Yes,” Vincent laughed, hugging her.

He reverently added it to 'their' collection.


lawyer

Tiny Treasures - 42

"Well Bro, my alphabetical route got sidetracked.

 I HAD to visit Ireland, didn't I? And doing it before Istanbul was impractical, airfare-wise. So I went to the Emerald Isle next.

The description is apt, and the place seems timeless. Remember when we shared a bottle of Guinness, Vincent? Tastes much better now! Even if I couldn't understand the dialect, I sure absorbed the food and friendly natives.


Then I flew to Montenegro. It's a place of confused history in a part of the world rife with it – but happy, peaceful, with stunning scenery and beautiful, clean modern cities. Remarkable."

ireland monte
20

Tiny Treasures - 39

"Me again, Bro. 

This time I decided on Egypt. Hard to know what to say about the place. It's overwhelming, hot, crowded, full of exotic scents and grinding poverty under the shadow, virtually, of the wealth that built the pyramids and the wonderful temples.

Hot, too hot, too much. I stayed a few days and was glad to move onto my next destination.

Firenze -, Florence of course - city of Michelangelo and Leonardo. City of pontes, piazalles, palazzos, loglias and sculptures that break your heart. Brick,marble and stone.

So much history here too, of culture and art, religion and war.

Onward."

egypt Firenze

Tiny Treasures - 40

"Hi Bro. 

Next was Istanbul. Constantinople, Byzantium. Fogs and mullahs, sweet tea and bazaars, wild nightclubs, the Hagia Sophia.

Vincent, this FEELS like the gateway to Asia and the Silk Road. Also where worlds meet, mingle with grace. A melding of all that is romantic with all that is practical. Overwhelmingly amazing.

So from the romantic to the merely unbreakable, solid. London.

You can walk alone, breathe the ancient air. Stone 2000 years old, glass towers, humming highways. This is our culture and I rejoice that it exists, inimitable. Peace and prosperity unlike anywhere else.

Love it too much. Goodbye."


istanbul london
19

Tiny Treasures - 37

"Hi Bro. Hear you collect magnets. I'm embarking on an alphabetical world tour, and will take you along vicariously. So this is the first pair.

I start in Alaska, of course, home to dreamers, con men, greenies, lumbermen, miners, fishermen and perpetual tourists. Yes, I fit right in. But even paradise can be better for a change. So I looked at a globe and chose Corfu. 

Yes, that Greek place where history is underfoot and overpowering everywhere. Plazas, Achilles, fortresses, kumquats, museums, in a climate like a soft kiss, with scents that tantalize. 

Too perfect to endure for long. Goodbye."

alaska corfu

Tiny Treasures - 38

I found this, tucked into an old pocketbook of my mother’s. I’ve never seen it before. I thought you might like it.”

Vincent studied the tiny picture of a sweet little girl with a page-boy haircut and wide eyes. She stared into the camera with curiosity, and without concern.

This is you, Catherine,” he said, with certainty.

It is. But how did you know?”

I would know that look anywhere.” Vincent smiled down at her. “You looked at me like this, the first time you truly saw me. You showed no fear.”

That’s because I wasn’t afraid. Not of you.”

photo
18
Tiny Treasures - 35

“She was wrong, you know,”Catherine commented.

Vincent's eyes were closed and they were relaxing on his bed

"What?” he asked, sleepily.

“She said the most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched.”

“Wasn't that Helen Keller?” he asked, turning his head to look at her.

“Yes. But she was right about the rest. I can feel you within my heart.”

“As I can feel you in mine,” he remarked.

“I guess we can't blame her for not anticipating you,” Catherine whispered, as she handed him the new magnet, then gave him a kiss.


quote
Tiny Treasures - 36

Vincent regarded Catherine's shoe collection with some concern, since this was something else she would have to give up if she moved below to be with him.

“Why do you need so many?” he asked.

“Just in case,” she admitted, well aware that most were useless below.
Vincent had just two pairs of boots and a pair of slippers.

Her shoes in his chamber meant something, though, an informal recognition. How could she convey that?

A tiny, heavy package was delivered to Vincent the next day. He understood the message immediately and smiled as he placed them together.

shoes
17
Tiny Treasures - 33

That’s so very true!” Vincent laughed. “I do love New York.”

Okay, good, okay fine! Mouse did good, finding it, then?” The tinker shifted from foot to foot with excitement. “Can find them, just like Catherine can!”

You can, indeed, Mouse. Thank you.”

Nice new one, too.” Mouse fingered the magnet lying in his friend’s palm. “Maybe someone didn’t like New York, ‘cause they threw it away. Mouse found it in a dumpster.”

His brow darkened. “Finding, not taking. Right, Vincent?” He looked up hopefully.

I think we can settle for that,” Vincent agreed, adding the magnet to his board.

ny


Tiny Treasures - 34

Mouse regarded the small wooden object, puzzled. It had a magnet, so he decided to take it to Vincent for identification.

Vincent chuckled. This harkened back to before his time.

“It's a replica of a very old telephone from up top,” Vincent told their tinker.

“Oh,” Mouse said, losing interest. “Vincent want?”

“Very much,” he said. ”Thank you, Mouse.”

When Catherine saw it, she laughed. “My grandparents had one of those in their farm kitchen.”

“Tempus fugit*,” Vincent remarked.

“Amor manet**,” Catherine replied, smiling up at him.

“Yes,” Vincent agreed, before softly kissing her.

* Time flies

** Love remains

telephone

16
Tiny Treasures - 31

Jenny handed Catherine a small envelope when they were having lunch above one day. Catherine looked at her friend in surprise and opened it to find a porcelain square decorated with neat writing.

“I thought of you, and of course that wonderful man of yours, when I saw this.”

Catherine felt her eyes burn as she read the words again. So many years - yet this was as true as ever.

“I'll give it to him tonight.”

When she did, he hugged her again, longer this time, disputing the words.

“Always,” she whispered.

“Always,” he agreed.

holding

Tiny Treasures - 32

“You would have searched for me?” Vincent queried, adding Catherine’s gift of another magnet to his ever-growing collection.


She nodded. “I wish I had known then about how much I was missing, and how long I’d been searching for you, without truly knowing it. I only knew something was missing in my life. Until I met you, Vincent, I truly did not understand the role of fate.”

“Fate is an ever-fickle mistress.” Vincent drew her close against him. “Truly if I had known then, what I know now, I would never have given up looking for you.”

“Always…” Catherine sighed.

again

15
Tiny Treasures - 29

Sometimes, reflected Catherine, a magnet treasure came into her hands that needed no explanation.

She knew Vincent loved intricate and beautiful things, so she brought the new addition with her when she next visited him. She wordlessly handed it to him and he regarded her curiously.

He slid the small memento from its envelope and Catherine watched him.

He had the intense look she associated with cats, although she would never have said so.

Finally, he sighed. “Catherine, it's exquisite.”

He seemed almost reluctant to add it to his collection. But he did - so he could thank her appropriately.

inlaid

Tiny Treasures - 30

“The best is yet to be…” Catherine looked up from the magnet her husband had just handed to her. “Do you truly believe that, Vincent?”

“With all my heart.” His lips brushed her bangs. “Thirty years, and three children, has taught me to believe in a whole universe of possibilities that I never thought could be possible.”

“But, this growing old business…” Catherine chuckled. “Don’t you think we’re already well along that path?” Her shoulders lifted. “After all, we’re grandparents, four times over.”

“Okay, Grandma, do you want to fool around some? Just to prove a point.”

“Yes, please, Grandpa…”


best
14

Tiny Treasures - 27


I have found something for you, this time, Catherine.”

“For me? Why?”

“I decided we could start your own collection, next to mine. I have here a magnetic sheet that Mouse found.”

“You’re truly getting into the spirit of the idea.”

“I also wrote to Devin, asking him for more like he sent for me.”

“Oh no! That will be interesting. That man has a devilish sense of humour.”

“Sauce for the goose, Catherine…”

“Very well, show me what you’ve found.”

“I may not be as resourceful as you, but I think it will serve.”

“Oh, Vincent, it’s truly beautiful…”

plaque

Tiny Treasures - 28


“You can see where Devin lives now. He’s written it on the map. See, right there, Vincent.”

“I see. The whole country looks to be a magical place.”

“He says in his letter he wishes you could see it, Vincent. I wish that too, for both of us.”

“I see it in my dreams, Catherine. Devin’s letters take me there. We walk miles together, among the grape vines, in the sunshine.”

“Like we did on that beach?”

“Yes, Catherine. And as we walked in your dream, when you were visiting Nancy.”

“I think we could share that kiss now, Vincent...”

nz

13
Tiny Treasures - 25

Peter visited Vincent's chamber one evening, having heard about his tiny magnet collection. He pretended puzzlement.

“Didn't anyone ever tell you these are supposed to hold reminder notes?” he asked.

“Yes, Catherine did,” Vincent replied.

“Well, perhaps it's time you actually used one for that,” Peter grinned, handing his friend a small box as he left.

Inside was a tiny metal bound notebook and a package of refills.

Vincent regarded them closely, smiled, then picked up his fountain pen. On the first page of the notebook, he wrote 'Remind Peter to remove the price sticker next time.'

notebook 2

Tiny Treasures - 26

If this wizard could grant you one wish, Vincent, what would it be?”

Catherine, there have been many wishes. I don’t know if I could choose one.”

Please try, for me.”

Very well…I could wish to have known you, before you were hurt. I could wish I had been there, to prevent that from ever happening.”

That’s a good wish.”

But it wouldn’t be my heart’s desire.”

Oh, why not?”

Because the real Catherine, the true spirit of you, needed to endure that fire. It made you whole.”

I see…”

My greatest wish would be, to change nothing.”

I understand…”

wizard
12

Tiny Treasures - 23

I saw a park employee putting up a new sign, so I asked him.” Catherine stood beside Vincent.

She traced the words with her fingertip across the tiny bench plaque magnet she had created. Just for him.

Turns out, he likes to make miniature ones at home. He was curious when I said I wanted it magnet-sized.”

If you live to be one hundred…” Vincent read. He turned to his love, drawing her against him. “I will still love you as much as the night we first met. You were the end of my aloneness.”

Always…” Catherine returned his kiss.

22

Tiny Treasures - 24

William enjoyed his beer and enjoyed making it. Although no excuse was needed to experiment, he decided that the end of winter and the upcoming spring equinox were suitable reasons to introduce a special bock.

Catherine happily supplied a basketful of cheeses and fruit as her contribution. With William's marvelous bread, the tunnel community had a merry luncheon, especially when Father declared the afternoon a holiday. Everyone voted that William should make bock a tradition.

Back in Vincent's chamber Catherine, humming Vivaldi, handed him two treasures.


Her humming ended when he drew her into a hug and thanked her deliciously.

mug platter

11
Tiny Treasures - 21

 “If we hadn’t met, what would my life have been?” Catherine studied the magnet, before slipping it into its envelope, and sealing it inside.

She heard a knock at her apartment door. Opening it, she found Kipper, complete with skateboard. He kicked it up, tucking it beneath his arm.


“You’ve got another delivery?” “For Vincent.”

Catherine handed him the envelope. Kipper shrugged. “Ya know, he looks forward to getting these.”

“I know.” Catherine nodded, pleased.

Kipper studied the envelope. “So, another good one?”

“It’s one of the best.” Catherine smiled. “Thanks, Kipper.”

 “No worries.” The boy waved an airy goodbye.

vin 
Tiny Treasures - 22

Vincent and Catherine heard an odd noise and someone singing “Home on the Range”.

They both laughed as Kipper rounded a tunnel corner riding a hobby horse hung with coconut shells. As they made way for him, he waved, but didn't stop.

“I used to have one of those,” Catherine mused. “I loved the westerns on TV.”

“The real west was not at all romantic,” Vincent commented.

Catherine laughed. “Just fantastically real.”

The next day, as if to prove him wrong, she handed him a battered and romantic item for his collection.

Vincent hugged her.  “Thank you.”

hat
10
Tiny Treasures - 19

“Oh Catherine!” Vincent muttered, gazing at the latest magnet for his collection. It was a foil-wrapped, oversized ladybug, and his nose told him it was chocolate – very good chocolate.

This would not do. He rummaged in a box of oddments, found a champagne cork from their anniversary celebration. He carved it carefully, smoothed it with a nail file, then examined it. A little smaller. Would she notice?


He carefully unwrapped the foil from the ladybug, then wrapped his cork version, carefully glueing it to the bottom leg plate and magnet.
Perfect!

Smiling, he popped the chocolate into his mouth. Delicious!



choc cork cork fin


Tiny Treasures - 20

“I wanted to give you another magnet that holds our memories.” Catherine smiled. “Like the ice cream scoop, and the sea shell heart.”

She held out her cupped hands towards Vincent. “I found the tiniest piece, and then a button that says it all.” She opened her hands.

Nestled in her palm was a tiny leather pouch. On it sat a miniature white rose. Both replicas of those Vincent always wore around his neck.

“I will treasure them, Catherine.” Vincent lifted them carefully from her hand.

He tucked the rose within its covering before adding it to his growing collection.

20

9

Tiny Treasures - 17

“Oh, now I know this one’s from Devin!” Vincent laughed, holding up the next magnet from Catherine.

Now he needed to be afraid of a flightless bird, and a brown fruit. It fitted well with his brother’s warped sense of humour.

Vincent leaned back in his chair, holding the magnet in his hand. He missed his big brother more than he could say. These small reminders spoke of the miles between them that could not be bridged physically, until Devin chose to return home.

Vincent sighed. Reaching out, he placed the magnet on his board beside its mate, the weta...


kiwis
Tiny Treasures - 18

Vincent always examined unusual insects he spotted in the tunnels. One day, Cullen found him examining a long, green insect near the dining hall.

“Gah! What is it?” Cullen asked.

“I don't know. But I will try to find out,” Vincent declared.

Many insects did not appear in their limited entomology reference books.

Later that day, a small box containing two unique magnets and a note was delivered to him.

These are the kinds of bugs I like.

- Cullen”


Vincent added the two insects to his collection with a chuckle. These were easily identified. Cutlery forks!

bugs

8
Tiny Treasures - 15

Vincent and Catherine watched a raging battle in Father's chamber. Cullen was yelling at Father, William was shouting his blunt opinion, and Jamie was interjecting her sharp opinion. Kanin and Mouse were speechless, mercifully.

Then Father finally had had enough and whacked his cane against a heavy iron bucket beside him. Everyone jumped.

“Enough!” he bellowed. “No more today. Kanin, make me a list for tomorrow.”

The combatants left and Vincent and Catherine eased out quietly.

Later that day, an envelope was handed to Vincent. The memento made him laugh, albeit wryly. He placed it next to his others.

yellowstone
Tiny Treasures - 16

“It’s another one.” Mouse sighed, holding out a small envelope. “From Catherine.”

His expressive face showed intense curiosity. Despite his tone of complaint, he was obviously intrigued.

“Thank you, Mouse.” Vincent accepted the gift with pleasure.

“Gonna open it?” Mouse sidled closer, peering over his friend’s arm. “Got time…”

“Very well.” Vincent smiled, turning the envelope in his hands. Something heavy moved within. He opened it with his thumb-nail.

A magnet fell into his hand. “The white tree of Gondor…”

“A tree?” Mouse frowned. “Why?”

“Tolkien…” Vincent held it up. “From Lord of the Rings.”

“Oh, okay…” Mouse looked unconvinced.

lotr

7
Tiny Treasures - 13

“They’re air plants,” Catherine answered Vincent’s sceptical look. She showed him the magnetic sheet with two small shells, each containing tiny plants.

“Ah, I see. Of course. Genus Tillandsia from the family Bromeliacaea.”

Vincent nodded. Intrigued, he studied them closely. “I’ve never seen one before.”

Catherine laughed softly. “Why didn’t I guess you would already know their botanic name?” She touched a tiny leaf. “Water them once a week, and they will be fine.” She studied his growing collection. “I think they can hang out, right here.”

She attached the sheet next the magnet warning to Beware of the Weta.

airplants

Tiny Treasures - 14

Vincent regarded his collection of tiny magnet mementos and suddenly realized he was remiss.

A visit to Mouse resulted in him rummaging through a very large cookie tin of oddments. He grinned as he found something singularly appropriate. Then he visited the scrap fabric box, then Cullen for some glue.

The result was carefully wrapped in brown paper, inserted into a much used memo envelope and sent up to Benny for Catherine.

Her response when she came below later was everything he could wish.

'It is better to give than to receive,' he thought smugly, returning her kiss with interest.

14

6
Tiny Treasures - 11

William made tasty but conservative meals, out of deference to old and young stomachs.

Catherine, however, liked the occasional real Indian curry, and had invited Vincent to share one with her.

He had enjoyed it, although it made his eyes water and he had needed liberal amounts of yogurt drink to cool his mouth.

Catherine guessed his mouth might be sensitive the next morning and sent down a memento and a container of plain yogurt. Vincent sighed in relief after spooning the latter into his mouth.

The memento, although lovely, would be the only reminder of its kind, he decided.

10


Tiny Treasures - 12

“This is what I believe.” Catherine traced the words with her fingertip. “Truly, Vincent. Always…”

She held up her latest gift, nestled in her open palm. The Keats quote said everything.

Beside her, Vincent passed his arm around her slim waist, pulling her close against him. He buried his face in her hair.

“Then tell me what I’m thinking right now…” he teased, his lips destroying her equilibrium.

“This…” Catherine turned within his embrace, lifting her eager mouth to his.

There was a long silence on Catherine’s balcony. The magnet remained safe within her grasp. There would be time later…

12

5
Tiny Treasures - 9

So I find words I never thought to speak. In streets I never thought I should revisit, when I left my body on a distant shore…” Vincent quoted T.S. Eliot, beneath his breath.

He’d just opened another brown envelope from Catherine. It contained a new magnet. This one evoked memories Vincent thought he’d safely stored away.

But Catherine had remembered. That distant beach, the time they’d spent dreaming together, in the sunshine. The shell in a box, filled with sand.

Vincent had kept everything, safely stowed in his armoire. A gift of beauty and love, from a truly distant shore…

shell

Tiny Treasures - 10

It finally felt like Spring above, and Catherine decided to send the tunnel community a special treat. She made a detour from the courthouse to choose a flavour in a specialty shop, then sent a note via Benny to advise William of a shipment, ensuring it would be delivered to the warehouse in time for lunch.

She also found the perfect little memento for Vincent and sent it down separately, in the afternoon.

By the time she arrived below after work, everyone she met had a smile.

Vincent greeted her with a kiss tasting faintly of peppermint.

Definitely a success!


scoop
4

Tiny Treasures - 7

Vincent palmed the latest magnet memento from Catherine. His collection was growing.

This one appeared to have travelled a long way before it arrived in his chamber. From mysterious New Zealand, at the bottom of the world.

The country where Devin now grew grapes. Perhaps his errant brother had been the original owner.

Vincent smiled. Catherine knew how he longed to travel, to see the world. Only in his dreams, and these small gifts.

The creature portrayed looked fearsome indeed. It was completely illogical, and therein lay its charm. Why would anyone need to beware of an insect, however prehistoric-looking?

7

Tiny Treasures - 8

Vincent was somewhat depressed as spring came. He would not be able to see the true beauty of flowering bulbs in the dark.

Catherine had sent him down a pot of miniature narcissus. The irony of the name was not lost on him.

Although Catherine thought him beautiful, he knew better and avoided mirrors. He was unlikely to suffer the fate of eponymous Greek.

On his return from lunch, an envelope awaited him. He recognized it and opened it eagerly. The little ceramic tile he found inside made him chuckle.

'Count your blessings', he imagined Catherine saying. She was right.

6

3

Tiny Treasures - 5

Supper time was imminent when Mouse walked into Vincent's chamber and handed him a small brown envelope, receiving grave thanks in exchange.

The item felt curiously lumpy. Carefully, he slit the envelope and a small wooden cutting board fell into his palm. His brows knit as he turned it over. Then he laughed.

Catherine apparently knew what William planned for dessert. It would be a rare treat, and now one he would emember for a long time.

How had she known? He suspected a conspiracy.

He placed the tiny cherry pie carefully on his metal sheet, then left, still smiling.

pie

Tiny Treasures - 6

Vincent was teaching his history class about the gold rush. They examined many stories of those turbulent years in the U.S and Canada.

Inevitably, the story of the old sunken Dutch treasure ship found by Mouse was also discussed. Vincent reminded them that communities become stronger in the wake of adversity, and theirs was no exception.

Later, Jamie delivered an envelope from Catherine. Vincent smiled at the latest tiny gift, a small gold pan.

It was, he reflected, also a positive symbol, representing the universal hopes and dreams of men and women.

He placed it carefully on the metal plate.

pan

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Tiny Treasures - 3

Great events are often foreshadowed,” Father stated.

Yes,” Vincent answered. He rose from his chair. “I have to collect the books for my literature class now. The curriculum for the Advanced Placement Test is 'New England Captivity Narratives of the Early Republic.'”

Interesting. Good luck.” Father responded.

It usually is - but the pupils seem to be rendered speechless. No lively discussion, just silence.”

It's enough to drive me to despair,” he later confessed to Catherine.

The next day, Catherine's envelope had a little gift magnet and a note, which read, “The answer to everything”.

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Tiny Treasures - 4

At irregular intervals, Catherine send Vincent another magnet memento. He regarded the three he had placed on the metal sheet. Now a fourth sat on his large callused palm. They were unexpectedly thought-provoking.

This one was round and made of wood, with a burned image of a wolf peeking around a tree trunk.

Although there were no wolves in Central Park, there were lots of trees and himself, as dangerous as any wolf, in his own way.

Where did Catherine buy these things? She was being very mysterious. His curiosity was now extreme - and she knew it. He sighed.

wolf

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Tiny Treasures - 1

Vincent had been fascinated by the decorations on Catherine's refrigerator, shaking his head in amazement at what topsiders produced. She had told him told they were just for fun, occasionally for holding notes.

The next day, Geoffrey handed him a lumpy envelope. Inside, he found a tiny, white porcelain plate. It had a windmill, painted in blue, and above it, the word "Solvang." 

California! Vincent smiled.

He searched for, and found, a miscellaneous metal sheet and attached it to the wall in his chamber. 

The tiny plate looked lonely. He suspected it would not be for long.

He was correct.

solvang

(Note: Solvang, in southern California, was settled by Danes in 1911. The name means "sunny field". It's a popular tourist attraction because of its Danish shops, food and replica structures.
 The official website is HERE  )
Tiny Treasures - 2

Kipper handed Vincent a little envelope. Vincent smiled and thanked him. He waited until the boy left, then walked over to the metal plate, positioned out of sight of his doorway. This was his secret.

He opened the little envelope and extracted a small rectangular portrait of Chopin. He stuck it near the top, above the tiny plate.

Smiling, he closed his eyes and the let the beautiful "Nocturne" fill his mind.

Some time later, a pair of arms encircled his waist. He turned into them.

"Thank-you for a most delightful memento," he whispered.

"You're very welcome, Vincent," Catherine replied.

chopin

Chopin - Nocturne in E FlatMajor, Op 6 No9 (mp3)

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