The found photo of my father.
As the years go by, I've begun to think of each year as a large Lost and Found checkroom, where things turn up that have been missing and from which other things go missing, perhaps to turn up in another year, perhaps to vanish forever.
Above is something I found this year: a photograph of my father I had never seen before--a picture of him lost for at least four decades.
My sister found it somewhere and she kindly gave me a scan of it. It is the only time I've ever seen my dad in a helmet. I can't see his rank, but he's wearing a Sixth Army patch on his shoulder and his hands look enormous. They were enormous--as were his feet. Gosh darn it if he didn't pass them down to me.
It looks like early morning reserve duty at Ford Ord, California. One enlisted knucklehead seems to be catching some zzzzs in the background. Ah the army reserve! What fun to have this photo turn up in 2011 just when I was missing Dad.
One of the re-discovered parasols.
Here's another surprise: In 2007, I sent my friend Holly a couple of Japanese parasols and they were, we believed, never delivered. We entered them in the ledger of things lost things in 2007. Turns out, they had been delivered--but to the wrong address--and in July 2011 a neighbor of Holly's turned up at her door with them. He'd found them in his basement where his wife placed them four years earlier, thinking he had ordered them! Thus; honesty turned up in 2011 along with the lost gift.
Meet baby Grace (shown here with sister Rebecca and mother Devon). Gracie turned up in earnest, but not in a cloakroom.
I found two new nieces this year. There's Grace (the immovable object, above) and (below) the irresistible force known as Mary. Mary's father is deployed, but we expect him to turn up again in 2012.
Lady Mary with my sis in Denver at Christmas.
Just about the time I found the statue of Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson kneeling in prayer in the lobby of our City Hall, I lost my faith in the integrity of my local government. I'm glad they're asking for divine intervention: I think it is very much needed in my hometown.
Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson join in prayer in the entry of the Los Altos City Hall.
As non-PC as the statue is--perhaps it was a good reminder that someone else is really in charge--and I'm not talking about Alexander Haig.
I found myself on Catalina Island this year (see photo above). And now, I've completely lost interest in it! Lost and found in one quick visit. No more worries on that score!
But I found something different when I visited Ireland, in November.
The James Joyce statue, Dublin, Ireland.
I rediscovered my interest in the fascinating Celts. While there I found the first church, outside of a book (The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers), where change ringing is still practiced. And lo and behold, while I was there I found something else ...
My smile. The kind that starts in your heart. It came back in Ireland. I hadn't even known it was missing until I got it back. And when I arrived home, and Christmas came along--though I can't be sure ...
... I think my zest for life returned as well. My mojo, my elan, my je ne sais quoi. Maybe it was watching Baby Mary with her 9-month-old's enthusiasm and resiliency. Maybe it is just that sorrows ease with time. Lost and found. Found and lost. Each year--a checkroom filled with things we store away.
I found I had many blessings in 2011. I lost some heartaches, found new friends, and lost an illusion or two. On balance a very good year.
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