Friday, March 14, 2008

Da Count - You Can't Steal My Memories

Among the things I despise most of all are liars, cheaters and thieves.

Not the typical way to begin a post on "counting what you got" is it?

But bear with me, I'll get to the counting soon enough. First, let me vent.

The other day some low-life, idiot prick thought it would be fun or funny to steal the "Do Not Enter" sign that my three year old son had been using as a signpost for his snow fort. Given that the sign was practically buried in a five foot pile of frozen snow, the top half of the wooden post was broken off, and the vandal thief took off with the top half of it.

The sign had not only been a staple in our annual Halloween decorations, but had also become the banner by which my son announced the winter "Fort Alexander" that we had designed in our front yard for the past couple of winters.

My poor son was so upset and frustrated that someone would steal he sign he was asking strangers in the library yesterday evening if they'd seen it anywhere. It simply breaks my heart that someone can do this, never mind do it to a child.

I get frustrated and bothered by liars, cheaters and thieves. Do it to me, and I get angry. But do it to my son or my wife and I get thrown into a blind fury. For the past 12 hours, I've let that bitter anger burn in me like some sort of "Bruce Banner" on the verge of losing it completely. I've wanted to just get two minutes alone with the asshole who got his kicks by doing this to my son. It's been the low point of my week.

Of course, I could look at the good thing. If this is the worst thing that has happened this week, that's a good thing, isn't it? I think about this same week five years ago, when my father died on an operating table, and I think "Hmm, having my son's toy stolen isn't all that bad."

Thinking of my father, of course, reminds me of one of the other reasons this sign means so much to me. Francine and I bought it on an outing with my Mom, Dad and Baba at the Cavalcade of Colours craft show in Onaping Falls the year before my Dad died. It was a wonderful afternoon and we all had so much fun.

We have, of course, used the sign every Halloween since then, and Alexander has grown to love it. Even off season, when he stuck his head into the garage from inside the house and the garage door was closed, he could see the sign sticking out from the storage space at the front of the garage where we would store our slowly growing collection of Halloween decorations and he would say: "Let's get spooky guy down, Dad." He altered from calling it "spooky guy" to "skeleton" -- he was so fond of getting that out every Halloween that when we build our first "Fort Alexander" we both thought it was a good idea to bring out "spooky guy" to protect it like some sort of gargoyle sentinel.

So this week I'm counting the loving memories that the "Do Not Enter" spooky skeleton guy has brought to me and to my family over the years. It reminds me of my father and his love and creativity and that fun afternoon Francine and I had walking around the old Dowling arena with them; it reminds me of the fun Francine and I have always relished in each Halloween (our most favourite holiday season); and it reminds me of the endless hours of fun Alexander and I have had putting up Halloween decorations and building the various incarnations of "Fort Alexander" these past few years. Fond, fantastic memories indeed.

Sure, thieves can take our possessions, can damage our things, but they can't take away those wonderful memories.



lecram said...

I love this count, Mark. The fact that you chose to turn an unpleasant occurrence into the springboard to remember fond memories. Sorry the sign was stolen but your choosing to turn it around warms me.

I'm back (trying to be a better blogger again) after my busy time. Hope all is well with you and yours. Cheers!

lime said...

that really does stink on ice and there is nothing quite so likley to tug at your heart as seeing your kid heartbroken. i'm glad you are able to say hey, this is awful but here is the good part. i think that's part of what 'da count' is all about. well done.

maybe you and alexander can have fun making a new sign from scratch and make some more great memories that way.