Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mementos: Fiddler Crab

I've mentioned this before, but I'm a total pack rat.  I've kept tons of little mementos and trinkets my whole life. With some of them, it's obvious what the significance is, like letters from my Dad and my college acceptance letter.  Some of them, though, are meaningful because they evoke a feeling that might not be so apparent from looking at the object.

I thought I might start sharing some of them occasionally here.  In reality, I'll probably barage the internet for a week or so and then forget how to use the scanner again.  We'll see.

My Mom has a box at her house with a lot of my old treasures.  Some of my favorites are all stories that I wrote as a kid.  One day I'll talk her into letting me bring them home to scan onto my computer.  She didn't just keep the markers of my achievements, though.  She also kept my write-up slips from high school for all the times I didn't tuck in my shirt and my progess notes from the speech therapist working through my childhood lisp.  Now that is a proud mother.

The first memento  that I want to share is one of the most inconspicuous of them all.  Honestly, I'm surprised it's survived so many moves and Spring cleanings. It's small sheet of paper, not quite the size of a 4x6 photo.  Its edges have started to yellow.  I had to put a darker sheet behind it, because the paper is so thin.

The Story:

When I was a little girl and would visit my grandparents with my Mom, I would usually wake up really early.  The only other person awake was my grandfather, Bobby.  Bobby died when I pretty young, only eleven, so my memories of him are those of a child.  I see him in my mind's eye as a giant of a man.  His hands were the size of dinner plates.  He had this big voice and a low, belly laugh. 

First thing in the morning I would pad down what seemed like a runway, but was only a small hallway to the kitchen.  Bobby would already be there drinking coffee.  Sometimes he would fix me my own cup, which was a mug of milk with about three drops of coffee in it.  I would sit in the chair next to him, my knees curled up underneath me, and imitate what he was doing.  Watching out of the corner of my eye, I'd blow on my cup of cold milk when he blew on his coffee.  When he turned the newspaper page, I would turn the page in my book.  Sometimes we would stay there, talking and drinking our coffee until I'd go back to bed and wait for everyone else to wake up.  Other times we'd go for a drive around the Capitol or go look at old Confederate cemeteries.

The morning we made this was like the rest of them, only a day or so after Christmas.  In my stocking that year I had gotten one of those battery operated pens that write squiggly.  We were taking turns seeing what different words looked like and how many different kinds of lines we could make.  He grabbed a pad from the table and wrote this little note, which, naturally, illicited a fit of giggles.  It still makes me smile now.  Now, I smile not just because it's cute, but because it's a sweet reminder of a time when I could sit on my Bobby's lap and try to wrap my arms all the way around him for a hug, his whiskers tickling my cheek.  There were always so many people around that house and it was loud and fun and I loved it, but I treasure memories of those early morning that were just for me.

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