Sunday, June 16, 2013


My Dad was a minimalist.
I didn't realize this until just recently.
Back in those days, there wasn't a name for it.
Or if there was, it wasn't that.
He only kept what he needed or loved.
He was one of those guys who had outlines around his tools on the pegboard above his work bench.
Everything had a place.
He had a filing cabinet, with hanging folders
and brought home receipts and warranties and filed them by month and year.
He would fix something rather than replace it.
If it had to be replaced, he would pull the paperwork out of his file and dispose of it.
No clutter.
He believed in quality over quantity.
My Mom was the opposite but after her passing the house had order.
(except for my closet, under my bed and in my dresser drawers)
He sold and gave away just about everything.
I think that this partly explains why my sister and I both battle the tendency to be pack rats.

I'm leaving a lot out of this story but he and I went from strangers to enemies to finally friends.
In his later years, he told me that I was his best friend.
I felt the same. I shared more with him anyone else.
Amazing... if you knew the journey we had traveled together to get to that point.

But, back to his sparse ways.
In his den he had his work papers and notebooks, a few books and a couple of trophies.
A few photographs and and a painting I had done for him.
On his desk was a paperweight made of salt and water from my early school days and another of my sisters hand.
That was pretty much it, except for my grandfathers little travel clock
that used to sit next to grandpa's bed
and this little wooden squirrel.
The squirrel is very small, just over 2 inches from the bottom of his feet to the very top of his tail.
I don't know where my Dad got him or who might have given it to him,
but that little squirrel sat on the shelf above his desk lamp and watched him work.
I wonder what his story was. 
How did the squirrel come to live with Dad?
I wished I knew, but I don't.
But I do know this, if he was in his den, he meant something to my Dad.
He must have been very important.

After Dad passed, there were very few possessions of his.
Me and my sister split them up and saved almost everything.
I originally kept several of his shirts and stored them in a drawer by themselves.
I would pull them out just to smell them sometimes
when I was really missing him.
After a while, I let them go.
Over the years I've passed most other things on to my sister or nieces.
He's been gone 19 years now, as of last weekend.
I've come to realize that I don't need things to remember him by.
But I do need his little squirrel.
He sits in my kitchen on a shelf and watches over me.


Anonymous said...

I would save way too much if I had the space to do it :-) But we call people that saves everything for hamsters :-)

I don't know much about my father and didn't save anything after he died, he had very little so I guess he wasn't a hamster :-)

Fathers day is celebrated in the autumn over here, I guess they wanted something during autumn when we have very little other things to celebrate.

Have a great day!

kelly said...

"I've come to realize that I don't need things to remember him by."

such an endearing sentiment, and one i understand well.

love the story behind your little squirrel.

An Urban Cottage said...

I just realize as I'm reading this lovely story that you lost both of parents at the young age. I'm sorry for that.

I love the squirrel! Having just one thing is more meaningful than a bunch of things anyway.

Nita Stacy said... know why it was important to him. My Dad had many little trinkets that I knew he loved. One of them the hubcap off an old plymouth? I think...Mom still has it. His Dad's pocket watch. An old clock. I realize I am lucky to know what things were important to him and why. I don't have anything of his. It's all at my Mom's and I think I need something of his. Can't believe it never occurred to me. Although you are right...we have the memories. I cherish and old hubcap he gave me. Something people would wonder why in the world I have a hubcap.

I hope you had a good weekend. Father's Day used to be very very hard for me. But I've gotten better....much better. I don't dwell on it.

Robin Kent said...

This is a lovely story. Another good thing given to you from him.
I loved my father's comments. They are still quoted with a laugh. A great thing to share between family members and those who knew him. Like secret passwords.