Another year, another milestone since Pop passed away 13 years ago. It’s still quite strange to me how my whole psyche and emotions go into a funk during this period every single year. It starts around December 31st, since that marks the day that I flew back to LA from Belize to see Pop for the last time, then it festers and intensifies all the way up to today, each and every year. It doesn’t matter where I am, or what I’m doing, it always gets to me.
Other than a few photos, the only physical mementos of Pop that I have with me are his two watches in the pic.
One is an ancient windup Timex that he wore religiously when driving his taxi all around Chicago for a decade, and then Orlando for several more years. And yes, it still keeps almost perfect time.
The other is what he called his “dressy watch”. It’s a swag that he got from Time Magazine when he fell for one of their subscription promotions. It was always a good source of laughs and self-deprecating humor when we’d head out for dinner or some drinks in his final years.
When I sorted through his stuff after he passed away, these were the only two items I was interested in keeping for myself, oddly enough. It wasn’t a matter of space availability, because at that time I had a 50′ sailboat that gave me plenty of storage space. I really couldn’t explain why I was so drawn to them, other than because they were his and he valued them to whatever degree.
Oddly enough, the watches have always traveled with me since then, no matter where I went, or how I got there.
I keep them in a ziploc that also holds some miscellaneous foreign change and my collection of sim cards that I’ve accumulated from my travels, tucked in a deep side pocket of my backpack.
Over the last 13 years, I’m strangely proud of the fact that Pop’s two cheap watches have been to four continents (and Australia), many islands around the world, and have seen a countless list of countries and amazing places.
They’ve been through a barrage of fun adventures as well some scary-ass ones that I didn’t think I’d live through. They’ve resisted countless robbery and pickpocket attempts in various airports, train stations and bus depots around the globe.
Every once in awhile when I’m rummaging through my backpack for something else that I can never seem to find when I need it most, I’ll come across them. Then I have to take a pause from whatever I was doing. I’ll hold and rub them for a few minutes, and even take a whiff of the velcro band on the Timex (I can still kinda smell him that way, is that weird?).
Deep thought and even a cry will sometimes ensue. They always seem to put me in a strange state of reverie, bringing back a slew of memories and thoughts about him that I don’t seem to have any other time. I find them to be an odd source of familiarity, therapy and comfort for me, if nothing else.
Ultimately all I can wonder is… What exciting new place will Pop’s watches get to visit next?