FATHER’S DAY: Handmade pen-holder is a reminder of Dad’s gifts to me

SURREY — In our house, Father’s Day is often a time for reminiscing.

This can include digging up some of those wonderful handmade gifts that are still cherished years after they were unwrapped.

The rock painted to look like a ladybug. The collage of photos of gap-toothed wee ones, grinning from ear to ear.

That ever-useful book of hand-printed coupons, good for chores around the house or yard. Coupons that were not redeemed are now precious reminders of days long gone.

Then there are the homemade cards that invariably proclaim, "Our Dad is the BEST IN THE WORLD." These are decorated with dinosaurs, self portraits, or flowers and rainbows, depending on which child created them.

Each masterpiece comes with a story. And each stirs up a happy memory.

That’s why I am so glad that my dad kept the pen-holder I made for him in Grade 2. It is essentially a bunch of Popsicle sticks glued around a soup can. A strip of blue adhesive tape encircles the top and the bottom. It is rather plain. It was certainly simple to make, although I do remember being covered in white glue from fingertips to elbow while I was assembling it.

When it was finished I thought it was marvelous. And so did my Dad. He kept that pen holder for nearly 50 years. Today it still sits on his desk.

This Father’s Day, the memories it evokes will be even more special than any time in the past. Because this year, memories are all I have of my Dad.

We lost him suddenly last September and we are still working our way through that year of "firsts." We’ve made it through Christmas and his birthday. Now Father’s Day is upon us. As it approaches, I keep thinking about that pen holder and how much it meant to Dad. I know it sounds funny, but I will feel closer to him because of it.

It’s a tangible piece of our fatherdaughter story — something that was just ours. It was lovingly given, and lovingly received. That’s what made it so precious in the first place. And that’s why it is even more precious today.

Creating memories is one of the most important things we can do.

Like that pen holder, they give us something to hold onto to.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thanks for all the lessons you taught me, the unconditional love you gave me and your unending dedication to your family.

But most of all, thanks for the memories.

Former Now editor and publisher Marlyn Graziano is the director of external and government affairs for Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

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