Friday, June 14, 2013

Almost Father's Day Again

I'm getting a post up a couple days early for Father's Day. Here we've both been so very busy behind the scenes, I didn't want Father's Day to slip by unmentioned.

Aside from everything else that is taking my time lately, I have found myself once again pouring through things, and ruthlessly getting rid of "stuff." I have again declared stuff as my enemy, and have gone on a tear through my closet somehow coming up with a couple more boxes of donations (admittedly my clothing choices are getting less and less, and less and less.....) and finally today, I went through my entire living space and dusted things, and got rid of things. I have packed up several boxes of questionable items that I'm in the process of determining do they stay or do they go. Some of these items were gifts from my father. I don't have very many things from my parents, and even precious fewer items from my brother who was killed in an accident long ago. As I removed every single item from my display case, I got a little misty as I dusted off a 70s vintage llama statue. It was a birthday gift from my deceased brother. I remember when he gave it to me, it was one of the first gifts he ever gave me as a teen. I know it came from money he earned himself, and he actually chose it himself. This wasn't something that mom picked out for him to give me. How am I so sure? Because it's a LLAMA for crap's sake... who gives anyone a llama? My brother, that's who. He really liked that llama when he saw it. He bought it for me, and gave it as a gift with pride. Its one of 3 things I have from him. I got sad because I was looking at that llama, and wondering how in the world did it come to be that I have 3 things from him, and 1 is an old cartoonish llama statue. From there, I ended up pouring through my china cabinet, looking at all the beautiful crystal that my father gave me. I haven't used it in years. Every Christmas (back when I celebrated), a box of cut crystal would be under the tree with a really bad wrap job. By that time, my mom was passed for a while, and my dad was always beside himself on gifts for us kids, especially my sister and I. So, it was a relief when a friend, who remains a dear friend to myself and my family, came up with the crystal idea for dad. It really is truly exquisite, but I haven't used it in years. This seems almost criminal to me.

So, about this exquisite, yet criminal crystal.... I'm having some issues over it. I took every single stem of crystal out of my cabinet, and "pinged" it with my fingers. It rang long and beautiful. And, then I pulled every single box out of the attic, wrapped each piece in tissue, and had the other happy vegan stash the boxes full of crystal in the attic. I think I am going to get rid of it.  This is a very hard decision, because every box is a memory. In fact, one of those boxes actually still had some really ugly Christmas wrapping paper attached with tape. My dad had the worst taste in wrapping paper, it was so bad I really looked forward to seeing what he chose. He hated shopping, hated wrapping, and hated lugging things around. My dad was a minimalist before minimalism was "in."

After I wrapped all the crystal, I turned my attention to one last kitchen cabinet I have of personal items that are beautiful, but unnecessary. I have fine china. And, I also have pretty nice fine holiday china. The fine china was my grandmother's. It's SO Italian looking, if you can understand what I mean. It's old-fashioned, and very um.... decorated. I call it gaudy. I don't use it much, but how will I ever part with this I have no idea. I rarely use it. I am hanging onto it because it was a source of pride for my father to give it to me while he was still alive, and also because there are simply so few things that were actually from my grandparents, I must keep them in the family. Perhaps someday my nephew will have a home and a family of his own, and they will want this "Italian" family china. So, I can justify the clutter in 1 cabinet. The holiday china is an entirely different story. I used to LOVE Christmas. I used to celebrate the holiday, and entertain. So, my dad ended up gifting me some pretty holiday china, and as the years wore on, he would give me completer pieces and serving pieces. I have a decent amount of this holiday stuff, probably enough for 12 and then some. It's stashed in quilted china protectors, in a cabinet. I don't use it. I don't celebrate Christmas, and if I could wipe the month of December off the calendar, I would do so in a flash. But, this china reminds me of my dad. Again, the silly wrapping paper, the angst I knew he had endured behind every piece that he gave me. It's really true the saying "the gift is the journey" when it came to things my father gave me, because the journey for him was the shopping and the choosing. Not easy for him. I know how hard it was, and I don't take these things for granted, even after all the years he's been gone.

Father's Day is coming. I've done tributes to dad, and maybe in a roundabout way, this is another tribute, I don't think so though. It's just so hard for me to come to grips about emotions attached to stuff. Through the years, I have really been able to lighten my load of stuff. The more I give, the easier it is to give, and I want to give more. But, some things, I just cannot do. I looked around my living room today as it was torn apart for cleaning, purging, and packing. I looked at things with a very critical eye, and thought "if I had 5 minutes to get out of my house, what would it be that I would take?" Of course, this did not include living people and animals. It was limited only to stuff. I saw that llama, and knew it would be one of the things I would grab. I saw my grandparent's marriage license (all in Italian, of course) that my living brother had pieced together bit by bit after he found it going through things after dad died. He had it framed for me and gave it as a gift. It's very important to me, and I would grab that. I saw a painted tile that my mom did as a very young girl, and the maracas and percussion sticks from Cuba that she also used as a young girl. I would grab them all. And, I saw this ridiculous bottle of cherries in alcohol from Italy that I would grab in those 5 minutes. Those cherries have a story behind it that maybe I'll tell some day, maybe not. Truth be told, it's probably not all that hilarious if you're not from my family, so why even bother. But, those decades old alcohol soaked Italian cherries are one of those things I would mourn forever if I ever lost, they are THAT important to me. These things have no monetary value, but I have great comfort with them around me. And, with the china and crystal that I'm considering as something to maybe lighten my load... well it's not about the money, it's about that journey dad took for me.

I get a little funky every year around Father's Day. It's so hard to believe he's gone, and some days it hits me right upside the head like it just happened. I expect to turn around and see him, or call him. Just sit in the swing, have a beer and not really talk too much. I miss him so much. Sometimes people say "what I would give for just one more day...." Well, I know exactly what I'd give, and it would be a 60+ year old bottle of Italian cherries in alcohol. That is exactly what I would give for just one more day.

I hope those who will be observing Father's Day have a wonderful holiday. Cherish the moments while you have them. Nothing lasts forever.

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