I had a box that I kept all these treasures in. I had tiny seashells and jars of white sand from beaches I'd never visit. I had smooth stones and pieces of quartz from rivers and hikes that I'd never wade in or mountains I'd never climb. I had a flower pressed with the help of a Gideon bible from a friend who visited Hawaii. I loved these tiny "thinking of you" treasures.
At one point when people started realizing the definition of free was wide ranging I started getting some odd and wonderful things. One friend traded some candy they had with them for a silver bracelet in Mexico. Another brought me a hand painted Japanese calander they'd admired in a restaurant and had succeeded in getting it by telling the waiter about their friend who loved to be thought of but hated the thought of them spending money.
Some of my favorite things were procured by less honest means. I had a friend who passed away as a teeneager who used to steal interesting flatware and hammer it into bracelets for me. I had a fork with curled tines that came from a diner in Erie that I wore for most of a school year. I had salt and pepper shakers from all over and my absolute favorite things were ashtrays. I had one from a restaurant called The Tangiers that convinced me I needed to date my first fiance even though he was more than ten years older than I was and it took my parents a little convincing. I also loved plate and glasses and any kind of useful item that could be had. I had a collection of rocks glasses from several hotels. Even a college professor I had stole me one he thought was beautiful and gave it to me when he returned from a conference. I may or may not have found that a match for it made its way into my suitcase after a recent weekend in a nice hotel.
One thing I have always wanted was a coffee mug from Waffle House. We would go there on vacations a lot and they were everywhere in Alabama where I had first experienced the joy that is an order of scattered, diced and covered at 3 A.M. When I was in the local thrift store looking for a coffee table yesterday I saw one calling to me.
I know, I know, it cost fifty cents, but clearly that money is a donation to a charity and not really "spending money" so it doesn't count. I also know that somewhere someone liberated this from the Waffle House without their knowledge and I wouldn't want the store to get in trouble for selling stolen merchandise. I would never have the balls to take one, but I sure am glad that someone knows how very much I enjoy souvenirs and that they were able to gift me this mug in a grand cosmic gesture of goodwill.
Thank you for thinking of me.
What's the best token of remembrance you've ever received?