The Old Man had been stashing random bits of castoff gear in outbuildings around his place for decades.

Items that dated to the last days of the Second World War, fly rods loaded with ancient fabric line, bass lures made of hand-painted wood whose steel treble hooks had long since rusted away, engine parts and mysterious tools, elements of adventures long since come, gone and turned to dust, all of these lay discarded, hidden in plain sight by forgotten shadows.

These items were seeds in the Boy’s garden of imagination, relics whose stories made for Indiana Jones-style ramblings through haylofts and storage sheds where spiders offered more than enough menace to keep a young explorer on his toes. These tiny byproducts of lives lived by others hinted of potential joy unsuspected, things the Boy did not know he didn’t know.

There were tools for jobs he didn’t know existed, supplies for tasks he could not imagine, souvenirs from events he’d never know to be.

This taught him to dream, in the main. More subtly, it also taught him to recognize souvenirs as mere possessions, items whose value is limited to the experiences they might yet cause to be. He learned not to confuse monetary value with personal worth, because objects are just passing possessions, but memories never fade away.

Kevin Tate is a freelance writer. Email kevinmtate@gmail.com.

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