Sitting in my “Cave” I looked around and a couple things stuck out. Not the Big Ten Helmets or Hawkeye Big Ten Championship caps or bobble heads. 2 of my favorite possessions are within 3 feet of me from where I sit on the futon and watch Hawkeye sports of NFL football and they have nothing to do with sports, but more my childhood. They are a teddy bear made from my grandmother’s (on my dad’s side) favorite coat she got in Germany when visiting my parents back during the Vietnam war when my dad was stationed there. The other is old box with rubber bands around it, but inside is the best cribbage board EVER that belonged to my grandfather (on my mom’s side)
The teddy bear is kind of an outlier in the room that has a lot of sports memorabilia. It’s stuck on the second shelf of my book shelf, sitting right by my books on the shelf. My aunt had 7 teddy bears made from the coat after my grandmother passed, one for her and my dad, and each grandchild. It’s the softest black teddy bear I’ve ever felt. My kids have tried to play with it but its just not a play toy and when they are older (well my oldest knows of it) but they’ll understand how special that bear is to me. I was lucky that all of my grandparents were within 2 blocks of me growing up. I saw them if not every day in the summer growing up, every other day growing up, and spent most of the time with this grandmother. I skipped Friday Night High School football games to sit at her house in the corner chair eating supper, watching Wheel of Fortune, Dukes of Hazard, and the opening sequence of Dallas (just so I could see Texas Stadium in the opening). Then playing with play dough or checkers or eating kit kats. She passed away 2 days before my 21stbirthday. She had already signed a birthday card for me (which I still have too).
The cribbage board is special too, and it’s a sweet board. Smooth and shiny and wooden pegs. My grandpa and I, as with my cousins and dad, would play cribbage over any other card game growing up. My dad and I had a mythical house championship that we’d hand off between each other depending how the cards were dealt. One of the greatest games I think I’ve ever played (and lost) was with my grandpa. After about 6-7 hands or so I’m rolling and ready to finish the game with a skunk my grandpa, then what seemed like 2-3 hands later I’m stuck 3 pegs from the end and my grandpa lays down his cards to start counting. I already knew how many he needed to win after the first 2 hands had made it closer than it should be, and just looking at his hand that had 4, 5, 5, 6, and a 5 flipped over, I knew it was game over. Put my head down as I heard his voice counting and when he counted off the pegs saying “hey hey, look at that!” That’s probably my favorite memory with my grandpa, so getting the board after he passed away and my grandmother moved out of the house was special to me. I can’t wait till my kids are old enough to understand the rules and get some games in with them.
Just sitting here in my basement in the quiet with kids sleeping and looking around those 2 things just stuck out to me. I hope I can pass something special on like that to my kids and grand kids as special as those 2 items are to me.