Usually when we went to visit Grandad Bill in Dululu, there was not a lot going on. We would park at the grass in front of his house and leap out of the car to see if he was home. Usually he wasn't in the house so we would walk across to the Hotel to see if he was in the bar. If he met us there he would buy a packet of chips and a softdrink for each of us, something we only had at birthday parties. It was dark and cool inside the Hotel and the barmaid was always friendly because they knew Grandad well. They knew everyone in that tiny town well. I loved being put up high to sit on a barstool at the bar. Grandad's quiet voice and raspy chuckle had me hanging on his every word.
Once when we went up to Dululu there was a fete of sorts on, commemorating something of importance in the district. I bought this puppet with my pocket money and proudly labelled it when we arrived home. I loved writing my name out. I thought my special signature made by joining the N and the K together was brilliant. I was proud that my initials were the same as Dad's and his precise and flowing handwriting fascinated me. When I got married there was no way I was giving that name away. Having spent my whole young life spelling it for others and correcting their mis-pronounciation it becomes a big badge for who I was.
When I was too old to play with it anymore I kept it because I thought it was cleverly made. Now I wonder how and where did I manage to keep so many, many things for so long? When other people leave home and go to Uni and get their first job and move towns and come back and get married do they not take something with them? What do they take and how do they know what to leave behind for good?
I showed my turtle puppet to my three children but none of them thought too much of it. Not because they are in another era and jaded by modern, 'blingy' toys but because they've chosen their own objects of significance.
I'm seeing that it is important to me that my children value the things that they are given, but only while those things are of any use. Then they need to see that it is just as important to be able to give things away - to let go.