This photo sits on my desk, those dancing blue eyes looking at me every day just like they did for 58 years of my life.
Daddy was about 6 years old when this school picture was taken, an ornery little boy by anybody's measure.
And last week, while Mama was looking through some papers she found a note that she'd never seen before...
...written in Dad's unique script, apparently in 1995.
A memory of that little boy...a story I'd heard many times over the course of my life, written down for posterity unbeknownst to anyone...a 63-year-old man remembering a long-ago event forever etched in his mind....
"When I was a little boy (about 6) it was my job to carry in the wood for the 2 stoves we had in the house to keep warm, we didn't have furnaces then.
One night I didn't carry in the wood and I knew I was in trouble so I climbed in the wood box behind the stove and put the lid down so nobody could find me. I went to sleep while I was in the box and everybody was trying to find me, "Boy" they were very mad when they did. I got a whipping that I will never forget.
I was afraid to go outside by myself after it got dark
The wood was stored in a building behind our house.
At this time, about 57 years ago, we didn't have any electric lights, television, or computers"
Just seeing Dad's penmanship, so distinctly familiar and recognizable, made my heart leap and my eyes misty.
Even though I wasn't there when he penned those words, so vividly can I picture Daddy as he surely was that day... sitting at the kitchen table wearing his worn flannel shirt, dirty work pants with white crew socks poking out above his big old brogans, drinking coffee-with-a-little-milk out of his blue-and-white Corningware cup, a yellow wooden pencil (which he had plucked out of his shirt pocket) perched in his left hand over the steno notepad, putting his memories down on paper that day for some unknown reason. I'd never known him to be much of a writer but, for some reason, that day he was.
Dad had no inkling that this piece of green note paper would bring such joy to us 18 months after he had gone to Heaven.
An unexpected treasure.