I continued cleaning out my dead father’s office today.
As the piles of documents to be burned tomorrow stacked up, I considered the summation of some aspects of our lives; reduced to sheaves of paper, bank statements, and receipts. But in between the daily mail collection were treasures.
· His diploma from high school in London, before coming to the US for college at Georgia Tech.
· His military records from being an air defense artillery instructor in El Paso, Texas.
· His selection and personnel records from the FBI. Curiously (or maybe not) the section about a certain incident in central Texas was removed.
· Printed emails between his father and his brother on genealogy questions and fishing updates.
· Every user manual for every electronic device we ever owned. Engineers, man…
· A picture of the tumor that would change the arc of his life, but not in the way you’d expect.
· Every birthday and Father’s Day card he received for the last 20 years of his life. (I’m not crying, you’re crying).
I drove to dinner this evening through the giant, mossy oaks that line the coast of the bay where I grew up. Memories of my childhood flooded over me as I drove roads I’d been on thousands of times in my youth, but barely at all since. Those roads still show up often in my dreams.
Over a fantastic BBQ dinner, my mother and I told funny stories and argued over politics.
I guess the old adage is true: the more things change, the more they stay the same.