One of my wife’s favorite reasons to watch TV is the Antiques Roadshow – “part history lesson, part treasure hunt.” I admit that seeing the appraiser’s estimate of the prized possession – and the resulting flabbergasted expression on the face of the owner – for the keepsake that had been hidden away in the attic that may now fetch thousands, even tens-of-thousands of dollars at auction – is sometimes stunning.
Each week the show’s website publishes “a new treasure-hunting tale” from folks whose find surely rivals those of amateurs swinging metal detectors to archeologists sifting for buried golden or porcelain artifacts.
Here’s my story of what I found.
I was sitting at my U-shaped office desk made from the hatch covers of old wooden sailing ships. At one time these three-inch thick planks with scooped-out hollows for handles had provided access to creaking stairs that descended into the lantern-lit bowels of three-masters sailing to distant and romantic ports, perhaps to bury pirated treasure.
In rather stark contrast to the gnarled ancient desktop timbers and what they once hid below are what they now support above: World Wide Web access via built in Ethernet; a Metro PCS 4G LTE Android device; and the hard-to-find I’m told electric coffee cup warmer.
But best of all, the true treasures, priceless and precious – un-appraisable, never auction-able, irreplaceable – are those hanging on the wall above both desk and devices: the two pictures of my dad.
One is a mahogany, hand-stained and custom engraved January 8, 2000 newspaper story recounting the battles over a lousy sandwich-board sign that had belonged to dad, confiscated by the city without apology – at least to dad. One day that apology was made to me but by then dad was gone.
There’s another picture on the wall of my dad. His bushy white eyebrows – that occasionally he would ask me to trim for him when he could no longer raise his arms himself to do so there toward the end – attempt, unsuccessfully, to hide his eyes gazing somewhere far away. The wisps of his whiskers – not by any means spider-web organized – form a wreath around his seafaring-like weathered and wrinkled skin.
Furrowed brow and wisdom lines, etched and crinkled, wander away across his face and from the corners of his eyes. His freckled hands are folded on which rests his chin, his gaze reflective, looking out over the lake he loved no doubt, lost in thought.
Tangible – even yet today – and tender, are these treasures of mine.