The Cave of Wonders, my Minimalism takes a back seat, and Dad’s birthday

Today Chris and I started with a box of assorted cups – although not the giant box of tea cups.

Here we have some of the glasses from the china cabinet, all of which seem entirely superfluous for a man who generally drank only two beverages – store brand cola or instant coffee.

 

 

This was a neat find, although solidly in the category of “I wonder why Dad kept that.”

 

 

 

It’s a “Welcome to Ceasar’s Palace/Las Vegas” packet, with my grandparents’ names on it (not shown).  I was initially confused, because the only Ceasar’s I know of is a very depressing place in Windsor.  My best guess is that my grandfather was invited to Las Vegas for a psychology convention.  Perhaps this is a souvenir from my grandmother’s charming tale of how she wanted to visit a ranch for wild horses and ended up embarrassing my grandfather when she asked a taxi driver to take her to the Mustang Ranch.

 

 

Tangentially related, here’s a book we found called “Etiquette for Outlaws.”  Yes, that is a bar code on the left side of the book – this book was either stolen from or discarded from the Bennett High School library.  I wonder why … perhaps because the back of the book promises to reveal proper etiquette during jailhouse fights, while getting tattoed, and for gang initiations.  There’s a part of me that almost thinks Dad might have deliberately planted this book in the library, hoping to cause a stir.

 

 

This book belongs to my mother.  How exactly my Dad ended up taking it with him to New York is beyond me, but I’m really glad it hasn’t been damaged by mold or water or anything else.  And yes, Mom, if you’re reading, I put it in a safe place and I’ll deliver it to you next Sunday.

 

 

I just thought this book was too stunning to ignore.

 

 

This is the inscription on the inside of the beautiful book, dated 1866.  The book was itself published in 1864.

 

 

And this is an entirely different book, but I thought it was worth noting that Dad was rescuing library books as early as the late 1980′s.  We moved out of Owosso in 1989.

 

We ended up only having room for 4 boxes in Chris’s car this week, 3 of which are filled with books and one is filled with some of the fragile atrocities from a couple weeks ago.  We stopped by Mom’s house and I pawed through some of my boxes in her basement.  I filled a bag with Salvation Army things, shelter things, and things to give to my friend Lynn, but one item ended up making it back out of the give-away pile and back into my arms.

 

It was my giant Simba puppet, that I spent one whole summer working for when I was 9 or 10.  I’m pretty sure the deal was that my Dad would buy it for me if I skimmed bugs out of the pool every day.  At that point in my life, The Lion King was my favorite movie, and going to the Disney Store in the mall was a near religious experience.  I still remember locking my eyes onto that giant lion, and how wanting it consumed my heart.

 

As soon as I pulled Simba out of the box, I said aloud that I would give him to Lynn for her kids, since I already gave her several other members of Simba’s family.  But when Chris and I got in the car to leave, I wanted to hold Simba on my lap.  Chris was the one who actually had to convince me that it would be ok to hold on to this stuffed animal.  I felt so guilty for loving a material thing so much, for clinging to this relic from my childhood.  But the point of minimalism, or at least, the point of MY minimalism, is not to have only 100 things or only as many things as will fit in a backpack, but to make room for the important, meaningful things.  Simba qualified, so he’s staying.

 

Can’t forget that today (technically it’s Monday now) is Dad’s birthday.  He would be 61, or perhaps he IS 61 if he ran off to Morocco with a new identity.  There are so many things I wish I could tell him.  I wonder how he’d react if I could tell him I got my taxes done a few days ago, that I owe $400-odd dollars to the Federal Government, and I intend to pay in full.  I wonder how he would feel about Chris, if he would remember him as the same boy who, along with our friend Kevin, came to offer me moral support at the custody hearing all those years ago.

 

I might go out tomorrow night and try to find a way to celebrate Dad’s birthday.  On the rare occasions he drank alcohol, Dad enjoyed a Gin and Tonic, but I just can’t get down with a drink that tastes the way Pine-sol smells.  A good cigar might not be a bad idea, if I can actually get to a tobacco shop – there’s no way I would try to honor Dad’s memory with a Swisher.

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