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Small Items of Great Magnitude | blog.deanland.com

Small Items of Great Magnitude

Small Items of Magnitude

Recently I noticed this little portable radio I've got. A few years back my son gave it to me. He knew I'd like it (I love radios - big, small, old, new, the one part of my radio past which remains in the continuum: my love of the radios themselves), and he took a secret, sardonic pleasure in giving me something given to him by someone who is not exactly my biggest fan.

This is a radio used almost exclusively for listening to the radio broadcast team that does the play-by-play of the Yankee games. In many ways, this makes it even more special. It speaks to the father-son bond Elias and I share, to our mutual love for the Yanks and for baseball, and it is a little gift which has brought me great joy.

On my keychain (and sometimes that makes me feel like maybe I should be called "Warden Landsman") there's a little fob my daughter gave me. There's a very funny story about the fob, the short of which is that when she was about three or four years old, she accidentally lifted this fob from a store nearby the Monterrey Aquarium. She had no idea she was "pilfering" it. She just held on to it when we left the store and walked along the beach. An hour or so later, just after sunset, I noticed she was playing with something. It was the fob, which we thought she'd put back.

We returned to the store, which had closed. No mail chute, way to return it. The neighboring shops had all closed, too. We flew out the next day, and so she kept the fob. She was a little too young at that point to perceive exactly what had taken place, and this little fob was not the stuff of which people are convicted of, say, grand theft.

It sure is an attractive fob. Stitched, woven, whatever, a nice addition to a keychain. My daughter knew I thought it quite neat, and one day about 18 months later she gave it to me, and told me I could put it on my keychain. It's been there for ten, maybe twelve years at this point.

We sometimes chuckle about how she came to possess the fob, and giggle that I always have some "stolen property" on my person.

What makes it so neat is that I love the colors, the look of it, and that she recognized this and gave it to me. My daughter is all heart, she is one of those people with a very special sensitivity to the feelings of others. It goes beyond people. With animals she has a special quality one only sees in a rare few. Animals are quiet and calm around her, they come up to her and are gentle and friendly in her presence. I joke that a rabid dog would take a time out from foaming at the mouth and growling to sit by her side and be petted by her. Then, when she would leave, the dog would go rabid again.

She is like an oasis of peace and tranquility with animals. She intends to work with animals when she's an adult. She and they will derive great joy from this.

The radio from my son, the keychain fob from my daughter: small items of great emotional magnitude.

There's a travel mug Susan gave me a few years ago. It was my first trip to visit the kids after they'd moved from New York. The car I had then had no cup holders. I drive a stick (did then, did now), so there's no place between the front seats to put one of those contraption cupholder dealies one can buy.

Knowing what a tea drinker I am, and that I am always drinking something (tea, Pepsi One, water, Stewart's Diet Orange Cream soda), and that the drive would be long and arduous, Susan got me a really nice wide-bottom Eddie Bauer travel cup. A surprise. A gift for the trip. A nice touch as I began the first "emotional journey," one of many trips since, to North Carolina and back.

It fit perfectly on the dash area in front of the windshield. Sturdy, balanced, and with room for more volume of liquid than the average tea cup, plus a splash and drip guard on it, it was a perfect gift, and the absolute right item for me in that car.

As I look around my home and office, my car, and the places I frequent as part of daily routine, there are scores of such little items. Gifts, tchotchkes, little thingiesÖall of which serve some function or meet some needÖand are an embedded part of my life.

The items from my children and from Susan seem to be everywhere, and all seem to touch me and add to --or should I say enhance-- my existence in various wonderful ways. Often it is a small way, seemingly just the minutia of one's life. My house, my life, adorned with (by?) all these little items.

Random acts of thoughtfulness, all of which are part of the fabric of my everyday being.

I could probably go on and on. A pair of little silver butter knives and some curtains from my aunt, given to me sometime around 1980 or so. I use those little knives all the time. The curtains have been in every home I've had since she gave them to me.

Both kids have given me pencil holders, which are on my desk and bedside table, respectively.

I don't know why these little things have so recently struck such notice. I do know they bring me joy and a feeling of thankfulness.