“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
Brown paper packages tied up with strings.
These are a few of my favorite things.” (1965) “My Favorite Things” from, “The Sound Of Music” Recorded By: Julie Andrews Composers: Oscar Hammerstein II & Richard Rodgers
Sitting at my desktop computer, where I write, I truly had no clue of what what I would jot. Does this ever happen to you? Usually, something is already on my mind, burning through the noise and the sights of the day. More often than not, a theme is just itching to slide out of my noggin and onto my keyboard. But not today.
A decent psychoanalysis performed by a solid, experienced professional in the field could most likely open me up and explain why this occurred. Then again, maybe not. I can be complicated.
In my frustration, I sat at my desk looking at a blank screen, which mirrored my hollow brain, when suddenly a light came on. A phenomenon which warms me so often that I take it for granted. Well, not taken for granted today.
Just before I pull back my desk chair from the desk, I face a study closet door, which stands about a foot from the chair to the right of the desk. On the doorknob of the closet, hangs two precious items of note. Let me show you.
Draping over the doorknob is a Christmas ornament of hand painted hues displaying blue, purple, yellow, amber, green and black. The small piece of art is encased in glass with a silver alloy frame and backing. If you look closely, you can read the words, “by Skylar 2017”. Skylar is my granddaughter. When she was 6 years old, she won an art competition that year for this little treasure. It is a small print of a much larger piece she painted that year. Hanging behind the ornament, is the collar and tags of my childhood dog, Tickey. (I have written about him before.) We grew up together. He died at 16 years old, I was 23 at the time. The jingle-jangle of his tags was heard anytime he jumped, ran, scratched. I can reach over and shake them right now, always leaving me with a smile.
Tickey, and a 9 year old me – 1969
Once I sit down to face my desktop screen, this is what graces my vision before I boot up the computer.
16″ across the bottom of my computer screen is a plethora, a sprinkling of little keepsakes. Let me explain.
On the left is a 5.5″ tall cross section of a piece of wood with its original thick, rough bark on the backside.
A few years ago, the oldest, largest tree on our short street was damaged heavily in a fierce windstorm. So much so, it had to be cut down. It was a grandfather of a mammoth tree, no doubt 200 years old, or so. As a memorial, the property owners left a 6′ stump. I am so glad they did. It helps to remind us all that at one time, when my neighborhood was once a thriving cattle ranch from the late1800’s, there stood a tree of testimonial. When they sliced down the massive tree piece by piece, leaving tall piles of lumber along the curb of a full city block, I found a small chunk from this old friend. It had a flat bottom, so it stood up vertically, with its beautiful two-toned colors of its outside ring layers. When I first brought it home, I thought of staining it. But no, I couldn’t. I feel its natural look is stunning as it is.
To the right of the wooden memorial, sits a replica of a Ford Mustang Mach 1 made by Hot Wheels. A girlfriend of mine, from my high school days, drove a royal blue one with black leather interior. It was a beauty, and a beast. I keep it on my desk because I was from the 1960’s-1970’s Hot Wheels generation. Growing up, every cool boy in school had a Hot Wheel set. You were even more so if you were able to collect a herd of Hot Wheel cars and trucks. Well, I was raised by a single mom who worked a graveyard shift. We were poor. So, Hot Wheels was not in my shoe box of treasures. There were the Johnny Lightning 500 cars, a cheaper competitor, which I was able to receive one Christmas, but alas…you guessed it…they were not of the coveted Hot Wheels brand. So, I guess you could say I guard this one with my life.
Just to the right of the Mach 1, lays a genuine, honest, true blue fossil. I sincerely don’t recall where I found it, but I believe I discovered it on the sandy dry floor of the Brazos River in west Texas when I was a kid. Looking closely, it looks to be a part of a neck, or backbone. I’ve never had it analyzed, but as a kid my imagination ran away with ideas. Could it belong to a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex??? More than likely, a duck, or a prairie chicken. My wife poured cold water on a boy’s dream by saying it looked like an intestinal track of a dog. “Gee, thanks, honey.” Either way, it’s a full blown fossil. And that’s what counts. Right?
Just behind said fossil, sits a small stapler I had retrieved from my mom’s storage unit, buried under tons of junk. Nothing fancy, or worthy of writing your mom about. It is rust color, about 5″ in length. It looked very familiar when I unearthed it from the stacks of storage boxes. One day, as it sat on my desk, it hit my memory like a a mob at a New York jewelry store. It was the stapler I used during my high school years. It not only is in decent shape, but it also still has staples in it. Suddenly, it felt like an old friend. And it works!
To the right of the stapler, proudly sits a model replica of the Galileo, the space shuttle from the Star Trek TV series. The old, U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701/7 Space Shuttle. It’s more than just a plastic model of the beloved shuttle, but a container. The top hatch opens to a compartment where a library of Star Trek trivia cards can be found. One of my stepsons gave it to me for a few years back. I was a Trek fan ever since the 1960’s series aired. When my three girls came along, they too became fans. That’s one reason why an old picture of my middle daughter, Megan, sits on the back of the shuttle. At that age, she used to say she wanted to ride in a space ship someday.
What the song said is true. Maybe to you raindrops on roses, or whiskers on kittens may not be your bag, but no doubt you have some favorite things. They don’t have to be large, or expensive. The value is in what the item does for you, to you. Because when that dog bites in life, or the bee stings when unanticipated, a few of your favorite things can trip off a few thousands memories which are reserved in a very blessed place inside. It’s God’s gift.
Poundings of threats of war, rising crime, along with thin wallets can melt away our smiles rather quickly. Losing friends over selected desired pronouns, or ideology which goes against your values, can cause bitterness if not guarded. At the same time, I can vouch for what a small desktop item can bring in your day. The sweet thoughts can point you in an alternative direction where we all were meant to be.
In scripture, there are literally dozens of times where we find where God uses the word, “REMEMBER…” Often, it is the first word in a sentence. Still, we are admonished to use our memories to combat negative, or dangerous desires, thoughts, or depression and disobedience. When we do remember what God has done in our lives, and the lives of others, we can begin to turn the tides of our seat of affections, or a darker path we weren’t chosen to walk. Yes, there’s something to turning the heart toward what we have been blessed with. Just little sprinklings of joy do this. Even if it is a petrified intestine.
Sometimes under “R” in your phone index, a simple line of sweet remembrance, refreshes when taken from fuel for the race.
“But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings.” Hebrews 10:32 (NAS)