Saturday, May 15, 2010

Knick Knack Facts

Whenever I am a guest in someone’s home or office, I often glance around to see what kind of knick knacks are on the shelves. I know these things may not always be heirlooms, but they often reflect some special memory or family status that makes them worthy of dusting around. I am not a snob. I’ve got these things all over the place too. We have happily acquired them from trips, garage sales, and even made some of the family favorites.

In our case, I know we start out with a theme when we acquire this stuff. My wife likes little animal miniatures. One of her first was a tiny brown bear with a jade salmon in its mouth from Alaska. So now, anytime we travel, we look for a little meaningful memento to remember our trips. Soon enough however, that will extend to bigger things like a glass blown fish, then a ceramic animal plate, then a giant parrot on a stick … well you get the idea. Our once tiny collection of memorabilia, rapidly morphs into a vast array of dust catchers.

I am most reverent to the homemade ‘awards’ and mementos that we keep. These are things like dated lacrosse balls, signed postcards, and a large variety of small fired ceramic pots made by my daughter. We even keep some real mud pots, lids, and recycled art that our kid made when she was young. Bookshelves that were once reserved for great works of literature, are now populated with random pieces of misshapen childhood art and shoebox dioramas. Indeed, such is the conflicted life of being a parent I guess?

So on a recent visit to my folk’s home, I expected to see the treasures of my youth proudly displayed on the bookshelves throughout the house. After all, they have acquired Sterling spoons from tourist places they have never visited, yet hang them prominently on the wall. You would think, their child’s treasured art would find a few spare inches of table space for all the world to see? No, my parents cover their bookshelves with things like a REAL piranha on a stick with scary sharp teeth. Instead of my youthful wood carvings, they have a geodesic paper sculpture, a random carved trinket box and of all things a common toy black rubber knife. Where my photo should be proudly framed, I found a South Pacific war mask with a red forked tongue graphically protruding out of it. What kind of special memory status or meaning does that evil looking devil mask hold in place of their one and only SON'S IMAGE? Hmmm, I wonder … that nasty knick knack 'bad boy' may have more repressed meaning than I thought?

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