I listed my keepsakes this morning. It’s a smaller one than the mementos, isn’t it? A ticket stub is a memento.

Among Jody Rich’s most meaningful keepsakes are her father’s pocket watch; her mother’s standard-issue police whistle, and the mother of pearl inlay box Rich received in Thailand. Photo courtesy of Jody Rich

My father’s pocket watch is a keepsake. Mom’s standard-issue police whistle is, too. The mother of pearl inlay jewelry box I received in Thailand is another. All three are out where I can see them daily. I might notice them; I might not. But when one of them calls to me as I walk by, my hand reaches out to it and I am there again. The warmth that radiates through me is full and rolling and can be powerful enough that I sit down.

It isn’t a special or unique event that I’m brought into. It is the everyday-ness of Mom and Dad and myself. Entire chapters, of who we were in the everyday of our lives. Like a silent movie, I see them getting ready for work and putting the watch in his pocket, the whistle on her lapel. Singing and dancing with our TDX group. Such simple routines. Routines that made me, helped make me.

These keepsakes bring me back to all of that meaning and purpose. Watching Mom and Dad make their lives. Seeing me making my own. There is such value in them. They have become lessons or values or core beliefs. Something ingrained.

They are more than a warm hug from a memory. They are examples? Fundamental ways of living a life? I can see all of who they were and I was. Simply doing what we did and then seeing the radiance from those actions. Showing the world what we were made of. How we carried ourselves. How we spoke with others. Our human-ness interacting with that of others. Such simple routines.

They bring me strength. A little bit of pride. Gratitude and hope.

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