Bricks and mortar make a house, but the laughter of children makes a home.

~ Irish Proverb ~

Stuff to Keep You Happy or Why I keep My Father’s Leg

June 16th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 0 secs

Puts a different spin on showing your leg.

I bet you collect stuff to keep you happy, don’t you? Myself? I keep my father’s leg in the corner. It’s okay. Don’t gross out. It’s only a leg. Not his arm or, more creepy, his hand! What’s a body part between family anyway? Especially when it’s a prosthetic.

As a kid, I proudly told my grade 1 teacher that my father had 7 legs. So when my parents were “asked” to come to parent teacher night, she dared to ask, “Are you happy about the fact your little boy thinks you have 7 legs?” Despite the slight embarrassment this sort of conversation caused, my teacher discovered that I wasn’t confabulating my way through first grade. After all, kids do tend to invent a lot of stuff to keep themself amused.

Actually, as it turned out, I was right too! Two by the bed, one in the garage, two in the laundry, and one under the house. Bizarre? Definitely. Though it felt totally naturally to me. You see kids acclimatize to all sorts of things. For me, I was only too happy to be surrounded by my father’s worn out cast offs. Besides, prosthetic limbs are interesting for kids. Though I have to say, the one dressed ready in trousers by the bed was a bit too much for me. It looked alive and I remember worrying that it might just move when I crept into my parent’s bedroom when no one was about.

So now, Papa has gone and everything is scattered. I took the only remaining leg and his beaten up old garage chair as keepsakes. Quirky, I know, but I am happy to have them around. They remind me of him in a comforting way that makes me smile. These are the sort of things worth collecting because they are charged with so many memories. When a parent or other loved one dies, these mementoes link all those memories to something tangible.

Sometimes, when I see his old artificial leg propped up behind the chair in the corner, I know people will think I’m mad keeping it. But this is not for them, it’s for me, and I couldn’t begin to tell them all the feelings that silly limb can trigger. Of childhood, with its sights, sounds, and smells, and looking up at my “impossibly tall” father (he was 5’10”/172cm) while I, just a child, knew nothing about anything except childish things. I’m happy to have a keepsake that reminds me of all that.

So, if you have stuff that keeps you happy, consider yourself blessed. It’s not the things themselves that matter, of course. More, the feelings they bring out in you. You should be thankful you’ve got them. Stuff to keep you happy is probably the best junk of all to keep around you, because – for all the right reasons – it belongs.



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