Memories and Mementos

When your loved ones die, there is always the inevitable task of going through all of their belongings.  Life has not slowed down enough for me to have been afforded such a luxury.  My brother and I have been able to go through some of my parents’ belongings and we’ve found some treasures.  Well, they would most likely not be treasures to other people, but they are to us.

Among the treasures that we discovered was a journal that our dad had filled in completely.  I’m not sure when he bought it and filled it out, although I can make some good guesses based on what’s in there.  The premise of the journal is that there is a section for every month of the year and each section contains questions that are answered.  The end result is a journal full of all kinds of information about whoever fills it out.  Favorite places, books, vacations spots, sports, and a whole sundry of other information that is fascinating, at least for someone to whom the information was new, which a lot of this was to me.2013-07-28 18.56.49

Among the pages in the journal was a page talking about how my father was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Seeing as he grew up in Brooklyn, it made sense, but there was not a whole lot of money to go around and afford him and my uncle the luxury of going to a baseball game.  According to what my dad wrote, he and my uncle were able to go to some games through the boys’ club at the Navy shipyard.

My father and I never went to a baseball game together.  We went to a minor league hockey game once, but I spent the majority of the time explaining the game to him as I used to referee ice hockey in college and beyond.  He was never a big sports fan either.  He and my mom never tried to dissuade my brother and I from playing sports, but they never encouraged it either.  We never spent Sunday afternoons watching football, baseball, or even golf.  Sports just didn’t take a priority seat in his life.  So, I was kind of surprised when I read this page.

When I was up in Connecticut this past week, one of the things that I took part in was a memorial service for my father at his former church.  I got the chance to show my wife around my hometown, going to places I had never taken her when we would visit my parents there.  After meeting with one of the elders from the church to go over the order of the service, my wife and I decided to take advantage of our few moments without children.

Right next to the church where my father was the pastor is a thrift store.  I could probably write at least one whole post on the treasures that we found there as kids.  My mom, dad, brother, and I spent a great deal of time searching among what some considered throwaway stuff.  It afforded my brother and I the opportunity of wearing some of the name brands that our peers wore growing up.  We found some incredible things there and so, partly in honor of my parents, and partly because of our own curiosity, my wife and I decided to take some time to peruse the shop.

Back in June, I wrote about a pretty incredible moment that I experienced at my seminary graduation, a moment that I felt that my mom was watching me in the midst of it.  You can read about it here.  In some ways, when my wife and I went into that thrift shop just hours before the memorial service for my dad, I felt like I was experiencing something similar.

As we looked through all of the stuff, I came across a Christmas ornament.  Of all of the major league teams that it could possibly have been, it just happened to be the Brooklyn Dodgers, the same team that my father claimed as his favorite in his journal.Brooklyn Dodgers ornament

I picked the ornament up and stood there in amazement.  Could this really be happening?  Was I really holding this ornament, this reminder of a team that had long left Brooklyn and had made its home in Los Angeles years before?  I checked the price tag and it was only 25 cents, a deal too good to pass up.  I showed my wife with a smile on my face and in this day and age of technology, I snapped a picture and sent it to my brother.  He agreed that I would be a fool to pass it up.

This ornament will stand as a reminder to me of my father.  No, we shared no baseball games together.  In fact, I’m not sure we ever really threw around a baseball.  But he did share with me a book full of stories, some of which I knew, and some of which I didn’t.  It’s a treasure chest of memories, memories that I can relive every time that I open up the book.  I probably won’t leave the ornament with all of the other Christmas stuff.  That would only enable me to look at it for about a month during the year.  I’m not sure where I’ll put it, but it needs to be in a place that I see it often, a place where I can look upon it and remember.

I guess it really proves the saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  And this is sure a treasure to me.

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