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.
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.