Posted 9 months ago
Seeing the post 'walksoftly' did regarding his 'first find' has inspired me to do one of my own.
This is it. Not exactly a 'find', but the first old thing that went into my possession, never to escape, but rather to be joined by many, many other old items.
As a child I had a retired neighbor, Clyde Lilly, who always sat on a lawn bench swing in his back yard facing our house while tending his free-range chickens. I took to visiting him after school, sitting beside him on the swing as he regaled me with stories of the good old days in our little Pennsylvania town ~ barnstorming baseball teams, vaudeville shows in the town theater, where the best fishing holes were... just everything was subject for discussion. He would sit, talk and spit out the occasional stream of tobacco juice ~ Mail Pouch was his brand ~ and let out a wonderful cackling laugh from time to time when one of us said something funny (and he always seemed to think I was funny ~ absolutely a great feeling for a little kid to receive).
One day he showed me some loose indian arrowheads he had accumulated while riding the plow on the family farm he grew up on outside of town and I was absolutely captivated! Even now, more than 50 years on, I remember much of the conversation. I had no idea there were such treasures just lying around! And, being a little kid, I asked him "can I have one?".
He hemmed and hawed a bit and said he would have to think about it. The next day, on my regular visit after school, he reached in the front chest pocket of his 'bib-alls' (bib overalls) and handed me this exactly as you see it except for the added frame. Do I need to add it has become a sort of totem for me? It hangs on the living room wall next to 'my' chair. Every time I look at it, I get carried back to the carefree days of my childhood and the joys of discovery that filled them.
I have always hoped to 'pay it forward' with another young child in similar fashion hoping to spark a collecting passion, but as yet have not encountered a willing cohort ~ too many electrical distractions these days, I guess. Sadly, I think today's society, which looks with arched eyebrows (or 911 calls!) at older men befriending young children not their own likely puts a crimp on my quest. But I keep looking and trying.
Godspeed, Mr. Lilly. I really, REALLY miss you.