Good memories are hard to forget. Great memories are unforgettable.
That’s what my grandfather once told me when we visited one summer and I asked him to talk about his time in WWII.
Although I don’t remember everything he said to me about his time in service (and I really wish I could), I do have fond memories of collecting baseball cards with my dad.
In fact, had my dad not started me on collecting, I probably wouldn’t be doing it today.
You see, my father and I never really had talks together. Since he was a Marine, he was never really home a lot. When he was, he made sure he spent time with all of us, not just one person. So, I don’t fault him at all for anything.
Whenever he was out of town on training exercises, or even deployed to Japan during the year, he always brought something home for my sister and I.
I can remember the first time he brought me home a pack of baseball cards, 1991 Topps. Nothing special, and it certainly could have been picked up in town. But instead, he handed me the pack and told me it was how he and my grandfather would bond, and he wanted to continue that tradition.
It was the first time he spent time with me alone, and as I opened the pack, he seemed to be more excited about it than I was. I never really understood it, but looking back, I’m glad I was able to share that moment with him.
About a week later, he sat us all down and told us he had orders for Iraq, and that he would be leaving the following Monday. I ran back to my room, stared at the binder of cards, and ignored the world for a while.
Luckily, his orders were canceled at the last minute. His squadron was placed on call instead, as a last-minute type deal.
But in between that time, I finally understood why my dad chose this way to bond. Sometimes, when you can’t find the words to say, you can find other ways to show you care.
And that was his way.