Category Archives: Nostalgia

Five Minutes/55 Years

Recently, I made a megamix of Rocky theme songs. Though I am not great at it, I made one remix that is impossible to remain immobile while it’s playing. The “Five Minute” rule works great when I’m not feeling it. Because it’s certainly true that motivation follows action rather than the converse. People wait for the urge, motivation, or willpower. It’s the opposite. As soon as the thought hits your noggin, you get up and do whatever it is you were about to put off. Or worse, say aloud, “I need to do so-and-so.” One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was: “DON’T tell me what you’re going to do. Live it. Show me.”

Most of the time, if you practice doing, telling yourself you’ll spend just five minutes on a task cures your procrastination enough to keep going once you start. That’s true with so many things in life.

The Five Minute rule aligns seamlessly with my Law of Increments. If you do a little consistently throughout the day and days, before long, you will amass much effort – and probably consequences.

I know Rocky is old school. One of the reasons it did so well is because Sylvester Stallone (whose real name is Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone) was a nobody with a story about overcoming odds. He was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay.

Late in my 9th-grade year, I got pissed off at myself one early spring afternoon and decided to go running. I figured if the violence in the house hadn’t killed me, I could risk a heart attack. We lived on the downside of a hill in Tontitown near 4K farms. To say that I regretted starting that day is an understatement. I ran a mile. My shorts were ragged, and my shoes weren’t running shoes. Poor aptly describes my predicament. But I put it all aside and just ran. I did it every day, no matter the weather and how sore I was. After a while, I was shocked to discover that the exhilaration of barely being able to breathe was an absolute high. At the end of it, I knew I’d have a hill to run down. Over time, I found myself sprinting a half-mile before the incline. I added more and more distance until one day, it occurred to me that even distance wasn’t an issue. Years later, I wondered what it was that first day propelled me to stop yammering in my head about what I needed to do – and just do it.

My brother forced me to do pullups and lift weights in the horrid dirt floor cellar on the bottom level of the trailer we rented. He usually punctuated the necessity of compliance by punching me in the upper arm with enough force to numb it. Months later, I turned the tables on him when he told me I had to do at least a dozen pull-ups. I said, “After you, my lady, after which I will.” He struggled and finished. I jumped up on the bar and did thirty. “How many CAN you do?” The look on his face was hard to read. “I don’t know. I don’t count. Pullups aren’t a normal thing I do in the real world.” My brother Mike was ridiculously stronger than me. I didn’t like weights. But if I wasn’t practicing my French Horn or reading amongst the trees, it was safe to hide somewhere, anywhere, rather than inside, where the violence would erupt. I’d do anything to have my brother Mike around so I could duck, weave, and throw punches at HIM.

Later, I realized that when I didn’t have motivation, I would listen to a couple of the songs from Rocky and Rocky 3 in my head. “Eye of The Tiger” played ad nauseam everywhere back then. You couldn’t go to church without expecting to hear it being played in lieu of old hymns. That song always gave me the energy to beat my immobility inertia.

All these decades later, some of the music still motivates me. I loathe many of the songs on the soundtracks. Anything by that crack-voiced Frank Stallone, for example. The new remixes incorporate more of the wall of brass sound that the main theme personifies. It’s just raw power demanding that I stay focused.

Through the years, I discovered that almost all obstacles were a figment of my imagination. Could I do 1,000 pushups a day? No, but I could do 1,500. That’s a bit excessive, I know. I stopped doing quite so many a few days before my emergency surgery about sixteen months ago. Could I run a mile in under six minutes at age 55? Yes. Can I run as fast as my childhood best friend Mike? Hell, no. I still have mud in my nostrils from years ago when I tried to keep pace with him. (I decided he might be Superman.) Could I walk twenty a day if I want to? Yes.

I’ve failed at so many things. So please don’t read all this as a litany of humblebrags. I’m self-aware enough to understand that I wasted a lot of my time and energy. I am proud to be a Spanish bilingual and to be a liberal as an adult. Not just politically but across the spectrum relating to people.

The gist of it is that if we are focused enough to ask ourselves what our goals are, we probably can get there. If we want to. Regardless of most of the obstacles. Everyone has their obstacles. And yes, I do recognize my own privilege by writing all this. So many people have no opportunities or advantages. Mine were massive on both sides of the scale. I’m not so stupid as not to realize that despite the harsh hand I started out with, things are good.

I wish my life had a wall of horns blasting at key moments. It would drown out the complaining and haters, for one thing. It would help to get out of bed, too, not that I have that problem. I’m lucky enough to wake up rattling the rafters most days.

From “Eye Of The Tiger” to “Pancreas Of The Platypus” might be an ideal title for a book to describe my outlook on life.

PS That dust all over my vest is from rolling around on the floor with my cat. I can beat him wrestling any day.

Love, X

The Chameleon Of Nostalgia

Oof!
To burn this bright all the time would be my demise. I awoke at 2:30 this morning, already feeling that sensation of otherworldly lightness. And so I navigated my day at work, my feet boundless. Even after work, both my mind and my feet were creative and I did a few projects as if I were two people, one focused on the task at hand and the other in my head, writing. But the sunlight streamed through my large front windows and the prisms danced and cast rainbows all over me and across the new rainbow light I made today.

So I decided to get 5 miles over my normal amount for the day. I grabbed my keys and headed out, even though I still had on my work shoes from 12 hours earlier. Lord, what a good decision it was. The breeze, sublime, the sun just warm enough, several dogs to stop and pet, and some good music. Though I am unlike most of my contemporaries and enjoy a lot of current music, I opted for ’80s rock. And the very first song was “Sweet Child Of Mine.” I had no choice but to sing part of it, my ears encased in prehistoric headphones. Had someone stopped and said, “You sound terrible,” I would have said, “…at least I don’t LOOK like Axl Rose these days.”

It made me think of my cousin Jimmy. He loved Metallica and copied most of the hairstyles of the band as it transitioned. He would have shaken his head at me and asked me to please stop the screeching. I of course would have ignored him. At which point he would have joined in, his voice equally absent any trace of singing ability.

There’s no doubt I don’t sing well. There’s equal certainty I enjoy a good day. I tend to have a lot of energy. Even when I’m sitting still. It’s why I annoy people and say I don’t get bored. I have to really work at it to feel the sensation.

But I walked and walked and watched the brilliant sunlight grow longer and cast increasingly somber shadows.

I can’t say that tomorrow I will burn as bright. I am fond of saying though, that I can own the moment and memory no matter what.

Maybe there’s a word to describe a simultaneous lightness of being rendered as a chameleon of nostalgia.

I can’t walk forever. And even so the number of days ahead of me is certainly much fewer than those ahead. If this were to be the last photo of me,.. even though I took it myself, it’s fitting. Please don’t “at” me for triggering any possible morbid connotation. Having lived it, no one can tell me that it’s impossible that it might be so.

I’m grateful.

What a beautiful afternoon..

Love, X
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Marcia

I have no claim to being the historian, the biographer, or the speaker for the dead for Marcia. I included the picture because it’s a rare one in which every person is smiling, all convened for a family wedding.

I arrived at the church early yesterday. I’d seen people outside and chatting as they always do before funerals. I took a few minutes to sit in the car, looking across the open area behind the church, my mind returning to the 90s and remembering another life. Not just the person’s life being heralded a few minutes later, but also mine swirled into a questionable collection of thoughts and memories.

Faces I hadn’t seen in well over a decade, some in fifteen years. I was once connected deeply to many of them. The children of the family? Some towered over me, their faces alien yet familiar. I hugged them all. I take my job as the Hug Ambassador seriously. I had to remind myself that I was in attendance for a funeral; the truth is that some of the warmth I used to experience with some of them came flooding back. Those who held a place in their hearts for me still told me plainly merely with their faces and enthusiasm upon seeing me. Seeing people after such a prolonged absence will gauge and plunder your feelings across a spectrum of emotions. All those lives, swirling inside and around a community we all share, were brought back together to send off someone who managed to make it to eighty-four years of age. She was the head of the family in what I call my Life 1.0. When I thought I was experienced and prepared for anything. Oof. Life reminded me that I was in store for a box containing both beautiful magic and dark shadows.

I remembered the first time I met Marcia. My deceased wife, Deanne, cautioned me, and she was right. Marcia mentioned the first time I met her that she wanted her large assembly of children to take care of her when she retired. We were sitting at Village Inn, having met her after our night shift. I had a lot better time than Deanne did. I acted like… myself: irreverent and fast-talking when her Mom veered into wild territory. Marcia had experienced a lot in her lifetime by the time I met her. It was written on her face and etched into her words even then. Deanne and her Mom argued often. It didn’t help things when it amused me when they did. Marcia didn’t quite understand at first how Deanne and I got together. So, I told her the truth: I was oblivious to Deanne’s attention, and Deanne took the reins and announced that I was coming over for dinner. Deanne was ten years younger than me and, at first sight, very outgoing.

The truth is that I had a lot more patience with her Mom than she did. I’ve found that to be the case universally. Most of us tend to grow too familiar with our family, and even the slightest oddness inspires us to imagine jumping into a well to escape them. It passes, of course. Especially when we realize that we probably irritate the blazes out of those around us equally. I know that Marcia hated that I took her baby girl away from her. But Marcia was also the one person we had with us when we married in Eureka Springs. As much as I unnerved Marcia sometimes, it’s hard to hold that in your heart when someone passes.

So, I hugged everyone in sight. I tried to avoid saying something stupid, including all the clichés accompanying death. I’ve continued to learn that everyone says something that rubs people the wrong way, no matter how innocent the intention is. I’ve said my share, and I’ve also listened as people said some incredible things to me while surrounded by death, grief, and discomfort. I watched most attendees respond reflexively to the litany of protocols of the Catholic church. Religious calisthenics, someone once called it. And I listened, my mind going back to the years my life overlapped with Marcia’s. As I sat in the pew next to one of Deanne’s brothers, I listened to the odd lilt of the priest’s voice and of the older male singer. The brother sitting next to me is much older now, of course. He was always irreverent. He and his sister Deanne used to annoy the piss out of each other. Older age suits him. Had Deanne still been alive and been sitting with us, I can only imagine the wild exchanges of inappropriate commentary we would have shared. Deanne and Joe would have traveled conversationally between insults and dark humor in a blink of an eye.

Marcia was cremated, a fact that surprised me. She was angry at me when Deanne died because she wanted her daughter buried. I pushed her irritation aside, maybe a little too confidently. Deanne and I had returned from a funeral in my hometown about a month earlier. We did what people do in those situations: we talked about what we wanted upon our demise two hundred years in the future.

I loved being invited yesterday. I made the picture for her obituary, one that was a composite of two pictures taken at one of her son’s weddings. That time frame was the quintessential “Marcia” most people hold in their minds. I realized I was a proxy for Marcia’s youngest daughter, the first to leave the family of six other siblings. That realization softened me more than I expected. It’s strange to think that if Deanne had not died so young, the arc of my life would have looped around to the same moment all these years later. All those experiences and years would have been replaced by the first arc of my life. Yet I still would have ended up in the same moment and place.

After the service, I went to Ancestry and closed out the chapter of her life by adding her date of death. Now, anyone looking for her will always find my family tree for her. It’s become a ritual for me. Closing out with that certain finality of a date and time. In a few days, I’ll add a hundred pictures to her tree to preserve them as long as the internet survives. 84 years is a long time to walk the earth. Yet it is also insufficient.

People, time, love, death, loss.

We march in time. If we are both lucky and unlucky, we will have enough life to see a parade of people precede us. It is both daunting and a gift.

It was a joy to see all the faces and to hug them. It also stabbed me a little because it was the life and family that I took for granted because the person connecting us was so young and left so early. Put aside were all the petty annoyances and dramas that characterize families. Just people, each trying to get through it and make sense of it in their own way. For me, it was literally another life ago.

Even when it’s truly someone’s time to go, it feels like a robbery. We’ll all convene and observe the rituals and expectations. But no one experiences a person the same way that another person does. Some experienced Marcia with both love and irritation, as a daughter, as a son, as an in-law, or as a friend. I don’t think I dishonored Marcia by saying she was brash, opinionated, and often argumentative. In her defense, most of her children inherited that predilection.

Maybe I overthink things, but I don’t think so. I think all of us have a long series of wild, contradictory, and disparate thoughts and ideas when someone dies. That’s probably an accurate way to go about it. Because people are complicated, and when we’re living a life that overlaps theirs, we don’t understand them.

I took time today to find more pictures of Marcia for her Ancestry entry. And I re-read Deanne’s calendar pages for her last year of life back in 2007. Even her short comments about arguing with her mom (and then mine) made me both laugh and remember her Mom truthfully, through both Deanne’s eyes and mine.

And to be remembered? That’s a feat all by itself.

Love, X

Behind

This coffee cup is the one I’ve had longest. It’s from one of my two trips to Mexico decades ago. It reminds me of exotic margarita sunrises and sunsets, salt in my eyes from my first trip to the ocean, beautiful sand stuck in places all over my body,  people working way too hard for too little money, tasting unlimited food and drinks I never had before. Being able to enjoy people even more because I loved their language. And trying to like shrimp made at least three dozen different ways. (I still didn’t.) When I was in Mexico, I filled this cup with a variety of drinks, “surprise me” concoctions of coffee and whatever the servers wanted me to try. One of those workers went beyond; one drink was made by a cabal of her friends, all shouting ideas. She put a 1/4 lb. sliver of homemade coffee-flavored chocolate in the cup, followed by bitter coffee and liqueur. I walked down to the darkening beach with the cup. My wife, now long absent, had a preposterous fruity drink that defied gravity.

I paid one of the resort people $20 for the cup. He reluctantly but joyously accepted it. He said I could buy a case for that amount. I told him that the cup was full of the memory of that moment. He said, “¡Eres loco pero simon!” (You’re crazy but yes!)

I’ve been leaving cups when I make special trips or when I want an on-demand lemon moment.

This morning, I walked down the leaf-covered and rain-drenched hill. I put my Mexico cup on one of the lower branches. I wanted to climb up one of the trees but these were slippery and the bark laden with water. Erika was inside cooking and preparing us a meal.

I left my Mexico cup there for future observers, a silent witness to the forest below. If this world were comprised of magic I would hope that anybody that looked at it or touched it could feel the salt and sand on their skin and that feeling of being in another world. I experienced it literally two lifetimes ago. I didn’t know at the time that those memories would be foundational for me or that life had shockingly different plans than what was in my head when I was there.

I clambered back up the hill and into house filled with bacon smells and presence.

This life.
Now.

That’s all there is and it’s more than enough.

Love, X
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Mullet Memories

I’m in my cathedral at work. Because I usually have a couple of hours with no one in here with me, I can blast heavenly music curated with the intent to inspire or motivate. My cousin Jimmy used to torture me with Metallica, and sometimes with horrible bands like Pantera. Because he’s been on my mind a lot lately, I played a few songs for him and had to laugh. I also played “Far From Home” by Five Finger Death Punch, a song Jimmy didn’t live long enough to enjoy.I ended the set with a heavenly song from Il Divo, probably the most opposite and contrasting music possible. In his last few years, he would have appreciated the switch. And we probably would have laughed about his mullet.

Each of us has had our mullet years, the ones characterized by uncertain identity and our place in this world.

When we get older, we laugh about our mullet years. But nostalgia makes it golden.

Some of you are probably living through the best years of your life and you don’t even realize it.

Take a minute today and crank up one of your favorite songs. If you do, I hope it makes you vibrant and joyous.

If it doesn’t, go ahead and fill out that  AARP application.

Love, X
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Stones Away

Every stone is a story. Of love, loss, regret, lessons, and acceptance.

I put one down, a singular stone, yesterday.

I placed it on a stem I bit off with my teeth.

Looking closely at the picture, you’ll see it handing in the branches. I took the picture when Erika and I walked the trail yesterday. Our walk went by the place that inspired my “¿” story from last Sunday. Pictures don’t capture how eerily overcast and beautifully the morning was. It was a stolen moment of warmth, falling leaves, and intimacy as our feet moved us along the path.

Fifteen years I carried that weight. I broke the watch purposefully all those years ago. A memento.

It’s on the trail now, maybe forever, maybe for a day.

It’s behind me now. Just as everything really is. I forgot I still had it. As I have with so many mementos lately, I wanted to release it and take back the power it once contained.

Everyone’s wounded in their own way. It’s easy to forget that because we feel like we have to conceal the hurt.

Because optimism is a consequence of love, the stone I left behind yesterday left my fingers easily. Erika stood behind me on the trail, watching me clumsily find my way closer to the abandoned trucks decomposing in the brush. After I walked back to the trail to meet her there and continue our lovely walk, I was happy.

Stones aren’t meant to be carried. They are meant to be measured, appreciated, and then left behind. If I had to carry all my accumulated stones, walking would be impossible, as unlikely as finding happiness if I were focused on my missteps.

Don’t forget your stones. Just don’t carry them.

Every stone in your pocket, in your heart, or in your head reduces your ability to siphon the good from whatever awaits you today.

Love, X
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PS I hadn’t heard the song “Stones” by Barbarossa until yesterday. I didn’t watch “HIMYM” like so many other people did. It got in my head to remind myself that every morning I get to decide whether to carry the stones or hurl them into the air – and away, where they belong.

A Sunrise Sunset Memory

Everything seems to boil down to memory.

The moments flicker past with ridiculous haste.

I remember standing outside, outrageously melancholic and glad to still be around to witness.

There’s a sunrise there, one that didn’t exist in the space around me.

But ask me if I remember seeing it and feeling it?

I woke up with it in my heart this morning.

I’m grateful that deserving it or not plays no part in my world.

Love, X

Lost In Time 2.0

I’m not planning on dying. I penciled it in for 2034.

I’m planning on living.

It makes some people skittish when they observe a loved one or friend “suddenly” giving things away. Don’t be alarmed unless you turn your head as you read this and see someone wearing a unitard behind you. Unitards are universally recognized as sinister, much like the side-eye you get when you’ve annoyed someone just a tad past their irritation point.

I’ve never given away as deeply as this time. That’s true.

From ‘the nail’ to the hand-written Ecclesiastes, a Xmas ornament from my dad’s death, Grandma’s thimble, Grandma’s sewing box, a few special coffee cups, a lot of my artwork (I use the word liberally there), all but basically three of my books, and a slew of other things that had immense sentimental value. There were several practical things that were also beautiful that I rehomed and surprised people with.

The unique nail I attempted to send to my sister still hasn’t surfaced. It may never materialize. It’s easy to feel upset about it, given that it was my most special possession. To remind myself, I think about all the people in the world every day who lose everything – or the people most valuable to them. A nail is insignificant in comparison to such loss and absence. Erika gave me a really old unique nail from her house in Pennsylvania, a weird nail whose story is unknown. There’s a comfort in that, too. It sparks my imagination. That nail has borne witness to many decades, been held by strange fingers, and somehow found its way to me.

When I was mailing my Grandma’s old sewing box, it struck me that my nephew’s daughter is the great-great-granddaughter of Grandma Nellie. That boggles my mind, even though I have a decade+ of ancestry and genealogy experience.

My last remaining aunt isn’t doing well. She took over the mantle of matriarch many years ago, whether she wanted it or not. I love imagining that when she was about five, that she knew a couple of people still living who were born around 1837. All those intervening people had lives, homes, families, and keepsakes. Almost all of them have vanished through the waves of all those decades. No one alive really has living memories of them any longer. They are footnotes, pictures (if we’re lucky), and placeholders in our family trees.

One of the only ways I can appreciate this life is to share the things I hold most precious with other people. I wish I had millions of dollars to share. Some might pay off their houses, some might buy a new car, and some might even take that long-awaited trip to Poland. I hope my nephew appreciates my grandma’s sewing box. That box spans literal generations. I like to think I was just the custodian for it. Each time I took it out to sew, I couldn’t help but think of my Grandma patiently teaching me to thread a needle and do a stitch. Or of Grandpa telling her to stop harping on me about using a thimble. He was a tough man and knew I’d learn very quickly after a few sharp sticks with Grandma’s needles.

I know I’m different from most people. In many ways, I’m envious of people who have a treasure trove of things from their childhood. Birthday cards, letters, pictures, keepsakes, boxes and boxes of things they both love and dread. There is joy in looking through those things, no matter how nostalgic they might make you. People forget that I do very much appreciate the difference between having things for no reason and having them to revisit old moments and people. That some people still have those things has led to me reviving memories of my life that I didn’t recall. Sometimes, they opened new doors into my memories. I hope everyone with such a trove lets them breathe and takes them out from time to time.

Recently, Erika had to leave a mountain of her youth in her old house in Pennsylvania. A lot of it was taken from her without her consent during one of her cleanup trips. The people involved deserve some bad karma. One of the delights that emerged from it? The new owners of her childhood home have been sending her boxes and boxes of surprises left behind. They don’t have to do that. I’m sure they are fascinated by the range of things they’ve found. It’s been quite the treat to watch Erika opening boxes without knowing the depth and breadth of the things being returned to her. All could have been lost forever. Thanks to a good soul, she’s getting them back in waves and increments. It’s a bit of great karma to hopefully wash away the residue of the bad karma from before.

In my case, due to tornados, domestic violence, and burned-down houses, there was no way for me to have much from my childhood. Would I prefer to have a closet of such things? Yes! I don’t want anyone reading this to think differently. Almost all the pictures I have come from people sharing theirs. Just the privilege of sorting and reliving such things would be a cathartic experience for me. I’m a little jealous of everyone who has such an opportunity.

I love wild, colorful things. Not necessarily to possess them. It would be easy for me to fill my apartment with such things. To the rafters. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by beauty? The cliché response to this is that we are all surrounded by such beauty, both outside in the world around us, and inside the people we include in our intimate circles.

It’s still weird to me to be poor but yet still feel rich and lucky most of the time.

I’m still breathing, after all.

Take a moment and ensure that no unitard-wearing weirdo is in the room with you. Then, pause to think about whether all the things you own make you happy. If they do, you’re way ahead of the game. Likewise, if something you own and love would enrich someone else’s life, consider giving it away.

It’s all going somewhere.

Someday.

The picture is of two of my aunts. Because of the resolution, I couldn’t enhance it or color it as it deserved.

PS Since I can’t write a post like this without repeating my favorite mantra: if you have pictures of friends and loved ones, share them while you’re breathing. Pictures are the best thing in the world, comparable even to the sensation you get when you feel happy and satisfied.

Love, X
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Teacup Reminder

It’s just a cup hanging there. It’s one of the last few that Jackie gave me.

It can be filled with delicious bitter coffee or a small serving of wine. Or it could be a reminder of how much time I spend here, a huge chunk of my life.

It will probably fade into the periphery of my vision and observation. That’s the problem with so many of our keepsakes and possessions.

I’ve left these cups in a variety of places. To mark my temporary presence, to take a picture and remember.

I’ll run out of teacups. But I won’t forget Jackie or the moments the tea cups mark. Most people think they have an infinite number of teacups and moments.

X
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You Want Personal? A Rusty Nail Is All I Need 2.0

Before reading this post, you should read the original post from 2014, at least on this website.:

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My favorite cousin and a friend conspired to make me this etch-a-sketch rendition of my grandparent’s porch. It was a beautiful and creative piece of work, one which I loved. Such personalized gifts are rare indeed in this life.

It was destroyed in a fit of anger. Not by me, of course. That I would dare to write about it might trigger a couple of people. It’s my tarnished truth to share.

The strange thing is this: I’m different than most people. A memory of a thing is just as precious as the ‘thing’ itself. The destruction of this beautiful gift only amplified the memory. That someone let anger gain so much control of them is unfortunate; they were possessed by the demon of a lesser god. I didn’t feel anger when I saw that someone had destroyed it. I felt only disappointment. It’s a reminder that anger is relative and that its justification is a sign of a larger problem. No matter what someone has done, it is very hard for me to imagine letting myself destroy something so personal and precious to spite another person. Or let someone else do so. Even if I deserved it or – or even if they do. Anger is the worst filter for reason. It justifies everything in its wake. It is one of the slippery slopes of life. I watched as my parents and a few other family members allowed that to consume them.

Regardless, the loss of this reminded me that everything is transitory. We don’t really own anything, no matter how many decades we clutch them close. It will also be lost, destroyed, or left behind when we depart this world.

All of it.

No eternal monuments can or ever will be erected because the Earth itself is limited by the laws of physics.

I still have the picture of the shadow box and etch-a-sketch.

Until recently, after a couple of near losses, I still had the rusty nail. It grew to become my most prized keepsake and possession.

Now, I have a picture of it.

I have passed it along to someone who might appreciate the depth of my giving it away. I placed it inside a collectible silver cigarette case, one which was salvaged and saved from the wreckage and the remains of another life. A cigarette case in itself has meaning to the person who is receiving the nail.

I did the same with my hand-transcribed copy of Ecclesiastes and a couple of other of my remaining treasures.

I don’t plan on departing soon. That itself is part of the lesson. I will one day, perhaps tomorrow. All the things that I find to be precious will be treasured no more. None of my precious things were valuable per se. Their worth only exists because I see it and experience it.

I’m passing along the rusty nail to my sister Marsha. She’s had a rough life. Even if she doesn’t treasure the nail and its anchor into my memory the same way that I did and do, I will release it into the world for it to find new appreciation or not.

I have this picture of the nail, one I will treasure. It’s not the nail. But the nail itself wasn’t the experience I shared when grandpa and my uncles put the porch swing up.

I hope she understands that it truly represents everything in myself that I find to be worthy.

Grandpa was an incredibly hard man when he was younger. I didn’t know him when he was full of piss and vinegar. And alcohol and violence.

It’s just a nail.

It will soon be in the hands of my sister Marsha.

I’m just a man.

But everything is so much more than the simple sum of us.

I don’t want to preach the idea of minimalism and appreciation for moments and people and fail to live it.

It’s all an illusion. Things are not us.

We need each other more than we will ever need a house filled with gadgets and keepsakes.

Love, X

P.S. My wife who died, Deanne, years ago while I was working one Saturday, she decided to clean. Though the nail was in a special box, she threw it away. I had to empty the dumpster for an entire apartment complex to find it. That too became part of the long story of “the nail.”