Tink…fssssh…clop

Never, EVER underestimate the power of my sloth. No, no. Not the animal (although a very slow, superhero sloth would be cool). I mean my lackadaisical approach to writing a post for my own blog. You have no idea how many times I’ve started a post on my iPad, continued it on my phone, worked on it on my desktop, sat and tweaked it on my laptop and then…said ‘meh…I’ll post it later’. And then I second guess myself and don’t post it at all, eventually leading to the WordPress post equivalent of the Land of Misfit Toys.

This past August my friend Ryan’s father passed away. Having been in that situation I could only offer him the only thing I could: an empathetic shoulder to lean on. It was nice seeing him post memories of his dad on Facebook. When the holiday season swings around it can become difficult dealing with the memories and the emptiness. It’s during these times, when you’re able to look back and reflect, that you realize that there are some very minute details of the person that you lost that you try to hold on to. For me it was the following:

Tink…fssssh…clop

That’s the funny thing about memories: you know the immediate things stuck in your head rush forward like a mighty river that you’re unable to hold back. You wind up trying to get everything out of your head and into tangible space for fear that you might forget. What you really don’t expect is the small things that make you smirk and smile and make you feel the warmth of a time Gond by.

Tink…fssssh…clop

I was with my friend Mike Hendricks in Reston a few months ago and I bought myself a little trinket that absolutely reminded me of my dad – a Zippo lighter. Dad was a Navy man and he would always bring home lighters. He was also an avid smoker for most of his life so growing up with him I was used to hearing the unique sound of my dad lighting up one of his cigs.

Tink…fssssh…clop

It was the sound of the lighter being flicked open, the flint struck to light the flame and then the solid, metalic noise of the lighter being closed. It all happened in almost one fluid motion – cigarette dangling from my pop’s lips, the Zippo gets whipped out and then

Tink…fssssh…clop

There was even a point in his life when my dad smoked a pipe and he had the best smelling apple-flavored tobacco.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating smoking. There is magic in the sounds and the smells of the act, though, that brings back a very fond nostalgia. And, for whatever reason, whenever I hear that sound it reminds me of my dad. You know at the end of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ when Zuzu exclaims ‘Mommy said that every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings’. I like to think the same way about the Zippo and my pop. Except instead of wings this particular angel gets a Marlboro Light, a warm Budweiser and a baseball game on the television.