My brother in San Antonio sent an e-mail last week about relatives heading for his house to escape the wrath of Hurricane Rita. He was amused by the possessions they were planning to bring with them, including frozen food and old tax returns.
So after you knew the family and pets were safe, what would you grab first if a wall of water was headed your way?
I think these are my 10 most prized possessions:
1. Grandmother Gilliland’s busted mirror. My cousins shot themselves in the mirror with their BB guns sometime in the 1960s. She never replaced the pockmarked glass and it stayed in use in her back bedroom until she died in 1995. “You don’t get so mad at your grandkids as you do your own kids,” she said.
2. My baseball card collection. I have at least one card of every Major League hall of famer including Leon Day, Josh Gibson, Hughie Jennings and a bunch of other players that most people have never heard of. My wife gave me the 1961 Duke Snider in near-mint condition.
3. A “Sometimes you just have to play hard ball” paperweight. Valerie gave it to me after she left me for another man. (It’s a sad story for another day.)
4. My little girl’s “Put Me In, Coach” T-shirt. It reminds me of the time when we used to feed the ducks at the park cherry donuts. That was almost 20 years ago.
5. My copy of “The Big Stretch,” a story about a bat boy who grew up to play first base for the Blue Sox. My little boy bought it for me at a school fund-raiser.
6. Our family’s “team photo.” Nancy Bohanan — she’ll be famous someday — drew caricatures of my wife, son, daughter and me in baseball uniforms. We are in a field of dreams.
7. Music from Bruce Springsteen. Haley gave it to me after she left me for another man.
8. My snowman collection. I have more than a dozen now. My wife likes to buy them at the half-price sales after Christmas. My favorite used to be a three-sided paper snowman that my son gave me, but then he told me “the teacher mostly made it,” so now I guess my favorite is the one that looks like a marshmallow.
9. My John Niland autographed football. You can’t see the former Dallas Cowboys’ autograph anymore because I wore it off while punting, passing and kicking the ball around the yard. Also, the ball’s gone flat. At least it was flat the last time I saw it in the bottom of the toy box at my parents’ house in Muleshoe. No matter whose toy box it’s in, the ball is still mine and the memories are still fresh.
(By the way, Dad, I heard about how you and Mart Long and some other Piggly Wiggly employees tossed my autographed football around the parking lot during lunch breaks before you gave it to me that Christmas. But you’re forgiven. I know all about the temptations of catch.)
10. My “cow-tipping championships” T-shirt. Cow tipping is like snipe hunting only you can get hurt. Linda gave me the T-shirt pretty soon after she broke my heart. I’m sure you can guess what happened.
David Stevens is editor for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org