This I Believe

steve - brunswick, Ohio
Entered on November 21, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: family, legacy
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this i believe…that worthless things have value.

i helped someone move yesterday. it always brings back memories….of why i hate moving! its amazing how much “stuff” we collect over our short lives. there’s always things that i just don’t know what to do with.

last week, i moved my office…once again, i encountered this same challenge. for instance, i have an ashtray that i made in third grade. i was in the boy scouts at the time and we made a special gift for our fathers. my father was a smoker at the time, so i made a wooden stand for an ashtray that had a painted ceramic bust of a boy scout at one end, and a clear ashtray with my picture under it at the other end. its funny to think about now. what father would dump ashes in a glass ashtray with your young son’s face staring up at you. it does appear like it was used though.

i remember as a teenager visiting my father’s office. i always saw it there. either, his secretary brought the ugly thing out each time i visited, or he actually used it as a decoration for his office. it was one of those things that you never throw away, but wonder why you have. he obviously kept it because i made it, and what can you really do with it.

in 2002, my father passed away. going through his stuff was quite an ordeal. i have a brother and a sister, who had no attachment to the ashtray. they were quite willing to throw it away…it wasn’t their picture under the ashes! so, after 40 years it returned to its maker. i can’t throw it away. i don’t smoke. i don’t even like the picture…but it did set on my fathers desk for decades, so now it has a different value. he put up with it for 40 years…how can i throw it away?

so, setting up my office the other day, i encountered the ashtray again. should i hide it in a bookcase, storing it as a precious inheritance for my children? no doubt, they will wonder what to do with it for decades. after all…it was made by me, set on my father’s desk for years and then my bookcase. maybe i should end the addiction and misery now…throw it into the trash…save the agony of another generation having to decide.

setting it on a prominent place on the shelf, i thought….i’ll take some more time to think about it…maybe a decade or two.