Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hang Time

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This tiny toy holster hangs on a cabbage palm that grows next to my long sandy driveway. In the back of my mind, I know it's there, but each year I seem to forget about it until, while picking up branches, or clearing brush...I rediscover it.

I never touch it or move it. I just trim away the smilax and smile because it's still there...right where he left it years ago. The leather's green, the buckle's rusty, but there it hangs.

I was trimming the driveway trees that day, countering my forest's efforts to close this pathway to our house. He was everywhere...mostly in the way, cracking me up with his commentary, asking a question a minute, clicking that pistol at imaginary enemies. At some point, he took off the holster and hung it on the palm tree. There it has remained...through heat, humidity, ...even hurricanes.

While it hung, the little boy who left it finished elementary school, got chubby, entered middle school, got lean, grew taller than me, and will start high school next August.

At 14, he's still cracking me up, but I have to use my old FLETC take down techniques to kiss him goodnight.

Out on the palm tree, down by the driveway...a tiny toy holster hangs, marking time.


Sandy Hatcher-Wallace said...

You are so sentimental and sweet. You're this tough law enforcement & forest ranger guy with this mooshy, gooey, loveable heart. You are the perfect dad, and I sure hope your kids appreciate you.
Your post was very touching.

Anonymous said...

Boy, I echo what Pasadena said. This really is touching. As a father, I know exactly where your sentiment comes from!!

Does Junior know it is there? Is he in on your heart's little journey?

Yet another fine post!

robin andrea said...

Such a love letter to your son. You are a sentimentalist, FC, and you give us a sweet look at the tender side of the human heart. I love when objects take on meaning greater than their original function and are imbued with the mysteries of ritual and symbols.

Leslie said...

Your posts sure can make me tear up, FC. You captured the larger significance so well. It's bittersweet, isn't it?

Deb said...

Posts like this should be outlawed. You're making me cry here at work. I'm looking at a picture of my oldest son at age 4, clutching a Thomas the Tank Engine in his hand. Now at eight he's up to my shoulders and into eight year old stuff and beyond. It sounds trite, but where does the time go?

Karen Schmautz said...

I hope you are printing out your posts and storing them away in a scrapbook somewhere for your grandkids to read.

Good make a good turtle dad, too.

... Paige said...


swamp4me said...

(Hehe, Pasadena called you a forest ranger...)

I had just a few free moments today so I decided a quick trip to Florida was in order -- little did I know it was going to make me cry :)

I really miss being able to visit every day. But the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter...

Anonymous said...

now you know why "us moms" save all those arts and crafts projects and keep them in shoeboxes under the bed. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a new reader having just discovered your blog yesterday while searching for something else. But, in the midst of a highly stressful day, it was just the right note I needed to keep me sane. I read all the way back to your first blog and enjoyed "visiting" your slice of heaven. This blog also made me cry as my youngest son just turned 15. You could have been writing about him. He towers over me and is decidedly his own person, but he still has one very large foot in childhood and the other an adult. I look forward to reading more of your writing. Thanks for a sharing bit of peace and quiet with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

I've nothing to add here except that I loved the post AND the comments.

Suzanne said...

Thanks for the memory, and the moment. You're entering into a very difficult phase, which involves letting go. I'm getting weepy just attempting to talk about that.

Thunder said...

Sorry, I've been extremely tied up here this past week. I had a chance to catch up this morning though.
Great story about the science class! Do you ever get into separation science (chromatography)as part of Chemistry? If so I've got a cool trick that has always been a crowd pleaser!
I like the year in review too! My most recent trip around the sun is ends in June.
Keep us posted on the turtles!

I know this one is out of order (speaking of rain), but I think we're going to be in for an extremely stormy spring in the central and middle eastern states. Unfortunately I think you guy's are going to be in for a long and vicious hurricane season too!

Have fun on spring break! I've got a three day weekend ahead, but I'm afraid I'll be splitting my time between studying for Process Safety Qualification and painting my shed!

R.Powers said...

"mooshy gooey"...
You are cracking me up. Thanks for the kind words.

Jr. knows he's loved, but I don't know if the 14 yr old brain grasps the signifigance or speed of time passage. We do though, don't we?

I am, I confess.

Bittersweet, happy yet sad, all of this applies to kids on the verge...

Bullseye! I was aiming for you. Glad you got it. :)

I know what you mean. I keep every handmade card they give me. I found one the other day and had to sit down it was so funny...I may post it.

Funny you'd say that. I was just thinking I don't write in a paper journal anymore and am putting a lot of faith in electrons by not printing this out.


Welcome back! Thanks for visiting on your limited time. Made ya' cry and it wasn't even a dog story.
...and you've never been called a forest ranger before? ;)

My mom saved mine and they are still a source of laughter...

It's a comment like that which makes MY day. Thank you for visiting and the kind words.

These comments...they were as good as the post weren't they. They sure made my day.

Hit the nail on the head. I keep telling myself, especially with Miss Almost Graduated that I have to adjust and give space. Tough...

Anonymous said...

FC - the comments certainly were a treat. I meant to say - not having kids - that I took it from the point of view of a grown-up kid who'd have loved to have had such a father.

R.Powers said...

Thanks. I have one, trying to be one, hoping the chain doesn't break.
Take care.

R.Powers said...

I wondered where you've been. Hope you get a chance to catch your breath. I have the CD and will use some photos when time allows.
Tell Lightnin I made Cuban black beans this week and missed her help in eating them.

Sharon said...

why did I click on that?? Sitting here with my 4 yr old son in my lap, you made me cry. Dang.

(but now I'm laughing, my word verification is "angst"...LOL!)