There are a number of objects that have traveled with me most of my life. I still have Tim & Tam, my two stuffed bunnies; my yellow baby blanket that I used to nicker on—a made up word for rubbing the silky edge against the nape above my lips—and the rainbow afghan that my maternal grandmother—my mimi—made for me. She’d made one for each of her eleven children, and one for each of the many grandchildren she had. There are a few others, as well, from times more near, and of other eras of my life between then and now. The meditation bell given to me by Sister Renee Richie, who had the same exact religious name as her brother, who was also a religious brother in another order. The kayak paddle that I commissioned, made of black walnut, made only with hand tools, by an anthropology teacher who considers his alter ego to be Captain Jack Sparrow. A petoskey stone that Dave gave me from one of his adventures, same as he has relics of my adventures. A leather hacky sack, given to me by a friend. It was her father’s. She gave it to me after his funeral.
Upon a wall in every home I’ve ever had, has been a picture. The frame—the newest element—was a gift from a lover who knew how to preserve what is important to me better than I did. I hadn’t notice the picture disappear, but when it reemerged one Christmas morning, the familiar image was majestically encased in a dark hardwood frame, nice glass, and brown paper on the back. It’s one of the most loving gifts I’ve ever received.
Behind the glass, is an eighteen by twenty-six, hand-colored-with-markers, Doodle Art poster, like an enormous page out of an elaborately detailed coloring book. The image framed by a web of jungle bamboo, are tropical trees and mandalas of flora with lions, snakes, monkeys, chimps, gazelles,ostriches, butterflies, toucans, and tigers.
My father must have burned through a ton of packs of markers working on it. After the divorce. I don’t know which state he lived in then. Maybe it was Florida. Perhaps California. But at some desk or at some table in a kitchen I’ve never been in, he put in a hell of a lot of time to send a labor of love to me, his son, who grew up out of his view.