Writing is a funny thing. Often, there’s no way of knowing who reads the material you’re putting out in the world-wide-web. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken with someone and they’ve referenced a certain piece I’ve written, or simply mentioned they read my posts. Way more than those of you who “like” or comment. Ahem.
It’s through blogging that I got reacquainted with a family friend, George. He’s a few years older than me, and we didn’t know one another all that well. Actually, he’s a cousin of a much closer friend. You know how these small town things go. But George reads my articles. He messages me from time to time with thoughts he has about what I’ve written. We’ve had many friendly exchanges. No, it’s more than that. George was one of my dad’s good friends in his final years of life. They took care of neighboring farms in rural Missouri and I knew George hung out with my dad, way more than I did, since I lived ten hours away from home at that point.
He probably doesn’t know it, but George gives me a great gift when he reads my articles. It’s almost like a piece of my dad is reading along with him. If you live with grief, you know how precious these connections to your loved ones can be when you come across them. I wrote a piece about my grandpa a few months back, and George read that one. He sent me a message that included a story. With his permission, I share it with you:
This weekend, a friend had brought some younger kids out to play, and one of them picked up a large blue glass ball and nearly bounced it on the floor! I got them stopped in the nick of time, and I had nearly forgotten about this "lost treasure.” There is a very interesting story that goes along with it. Your Grandpa Haynes bought it in Coos Bay Oregon in either ’54 or ’56, when he and your grandma had taken the kids on vacation one year [It’s the only family vacation I remember my dad talking about from his childhood-they saw the giant Redwoods in the same trip]. The ball has some Japanese markings on it and it was used to float fishing nets in the ocean. Apparently at some point, it broke loose and floated all the way across the ocean and washed up on the beach, where it wound up in a seaside tourist trap, and consequently made its way to Sampsel Township [my old stomping grounds].
I was absolutely fascinated by the story, and I eventually talked your dad out of it, with the promise that I would never forget the story, and someday I would make certain it found its way back to a Haynes. That has been a LONG time ago! I want to box it up and send it to you-if you want it. I think it's nothing short of amazing it has made it halfway around the world, and then 60-some years without being broken in the rough and tumble world.
For some reason I thought it important to hold on to it, and now I think it's important someone else tell the story, and wonder about all the travels of this mysterious blue ball. I thought it would be nice for your daughter to have and know the stories of its travels. If you send me your address, I will stick it in a box and you can put it under the tree for Christmas or whatever you'd like. It just seemed this story had come full circle, and it is time for someone else to tell it and enjoy the souvenir. I was not even sure if you had heard the story or remember the ball? At any rate it belongs with you guys, but I did enjoy it! P.S. Your Dad couldn't remember the year-I didn't forget! That's the way the story came to me.
I received this heavy blue glass ball in the mail last month. I don’t remember it all that well, but Mom recognized it when I showed her. We'll proudly display it in the office of our home. It’s a treasure, and a connection to my dad, which George offered to me. He figures it traveled at least 7,000 miles to make its way to Michigan. I’m grateful the ball found its way home.