22

My father, Chilton, was born 76 years ago today. He was a man of few possessions so I don’t really have much that was his. I have one of his bandanas, his wallet, the records he kept (see entry number 4), a scrap of paper I removed from his wall of hand-written quips and quotations, one of his pipes, and his address book. I also have a collection of the letters he wrote to me over the years. One of these days I will put them in chronological order and re-read them all.

This is his bandana:

22-bandana

Even though I have some of Chilton’s ashes in a bottle on the windowsill in the kitchen and piles of his ashes under a tree in the backyard, I still sometimes wonder if he might still be alive. And I wonder how he would have made his way without his wallet, since I took it with me when we left him, dying, in Tonasket nine years ago.

I find it interesting that the ID he carried expired almost two years before he died.

22-ID

Among the things he valued enough to keep in his wallet is Grandpa’s recipe for meat loaf, which includes the hand-written addendum “Instant brown rice is better eating.”

22-Meat loaf

On a particular wall in his trailer—the wall he could reach without getting up from his customary seat in the kitchen—Chilton had amassed a collection of ephemera on paper. The collection included quotations from books, statistics (including, as I recall, a particularly high Dow Jones Industrial Average), cartoons from the New Yorker, and so on. My brothers and I each chose a piece or two from the wall, taking care to take turns to ensure we each got something that meant something to us. This is the piece that I chose:

22-Whiskey

I’m not sure how I ended up with his pipe (since I’m not a smoker) but I’ll bet he had several so we each chose one to take home.

22-Pipe

Offering: a copy of Grandpa’s meatloaf recipe

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