Queen of Sheba

The cup of black tea was almost a little too hot to sip. I happily breathed in its fragrant scent and smiled at how the ceramic mug shared its warmth with my chilled hands. Setting the cup down on a table next to my chair, I pulled up the quilt on my legs, so that I could cuddle under its voluminous folds. Outside the living room window snow drifts were casting chilly blue shadows, while towering pine trees appeared more black than green. It was a good day to stay indoors to read.

Picking up my Bible, I opened to where I had left-off the day before from my ‘one page a day’ reading commitment. I Kings, chapter 10 told about the Queen of Sheba paying a visit to King Solomon to test his wisdom of renown. She arrived in Jerusalem with a huge retinue, camels bearing spices, a large amount of gold and precious stones.

Like a sparkle from a rare diamond, a memory flashed into my mind. As children, if one of our playmates acted in a hoity-toity manner (having a ‘better-than-thou’ attitude), one of us was sure to question, “Who do you think you are…the Queen of Sheba?”

Chuckling, I took a sip of my tea and wondered, “How would a bunch of children have known about the Queen of Sheba? Daddy loved to read the Bible, often saying that it contained some of the most interesting stories on earth, but even if he had told us about her, we wouldn’t have had such vivid mental images of her wealth and manner.”

Then it occurred to me, our interest and fascination for an eccentrically rich, powerful woman who could do whatever she pleased, probably came from our ravenous readings of Carl Barks comic books. His stories about Donald Duck’s many fantastic adventures often had the beleaguered duck and his three nephews traveling from country to country on business trips for Uncle Scrooge McDuck. Unaware of the illicit education we were greedily soaking up, we joyfully read and learned about cultural differences, history, geography and literary references that were all accurate when researched. Mr. Barks skillfully inserted education into his humorous tales.

Looking out the window and watching a wind-driven wisp of snow dance across the road, I sadly thought about how unfortunate children were today. “They don’t have the rich influence of Carl Bark’s great comics.” I shrugged as I realized that they learned plenty about culture, history, geography and literature from watching Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow and Nickelodeon.

Watching a bright red cardinal land on the bird feeder and a moment later, the arrival of its dowdy mate, I wondered if my children had any memories similar to my Queen of Sheba ones. With a laugh, I remembered how my older daughter, Niki spent an afternoon when she was eight-years-old.

My four-year-old daughter Tammie, followed Niki everywhere. Since Tammie was not only younger, but handicapped with short arms, a tracheotomy tube and full leg braces, she often received a lion’s share of attention. I had supper nearly ready that evening when I peeked into the living room from the kitchen and saw Niki placing a paper crown that she’d made on Tammie’s head. In bold letters Niki had printed, “Queen of the World”. On either side of the title were jewels that were brightly colored with crayons.

I had finished supper preparations that evening, wondering if I’d been treating Tammie like she was the Queen of Sheba. Maybe the crown was just innocent play, but it made me promise to myself that I’d pay more attention to Niki from then on.

Leaning back in the rocking chair, I smiled. I was sitting on a warm and cozy throne, on a beautiful day, enjoying my precious memories. I thought, “I am as rich as the Queen of Sheba.”

 

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