This post is not a sarcastic or humorous post. This won't be a giant rant on what's wrong with a small portion of society or why a marketing trend is stupid. This won't be a post about my senses and what my favorite smells or sights are. I know that I can be funny in a fairly negative way some times, but you won't get that this time.
This is about one of my most favorite possessions. In general, I think you could consider me a pseudo-packrat. Perhaps I enjoy having keepsakes from my formative years – notes from classes, drawings, action figures, etc. If you went into my basement, you could easily find all of that stuff (or I could show you where they are, because I know).
But this is different from packratting. This is not the same as hoarding (so PLEASE don't think I'm a hoarder). This is something that my Papaw (or grandfather) gave to me when I was younger.
It sounds silly. (Believe me, I know.) And as trivial as it might be, I love them. Further more, I would be absolutely crushed if my Tupperware container containing said soap happened to disappear. Crushed might be too weak of a word.
The soaps are that important to me.
Honestly, I don't remember when it started. But ever since I CAN remember, whenever my papaw went on a business trip, he would bring me home a bar of soap. Not a t-shirt. Not a cheeky souvenir. But a bar of soap from the place that he stayed.
I don't think he traveled a lot. Though, he traveled enough to give me a collection of over 75 soaps.
Sure, there were plenty of stays at Holiday Inns, Sheratons and Roadway Inns. The ones I like the most are from the more unique hotels around the United States, Mexico and Europe.
I can't begin to tell you what kind of impression this has left on me. Now, every time that I travel somewhere, not only am I looking to take a small souvenir home with me, but I'm also looking at the design and quality of the soap offered at my place of stay.
It's definitely a bond that I have with him that I'll never forget. It makes me sad knowing that some day I won't have him around to tell me stories about his life. I'm so, so, so very fortunate to have all of my grandparents alive right now. Most times I feel like I take it for granted. But it's not only this particular family member that I care about.
I love each one of my grandparents remarkably so. I know that each one of them has had an amazing influence on my life. I'm thankful that I've been able to have my 34 years with them.
Over the past few years I've done a lot of traveling for both pleasure and work. And each time I know that I return with great stories, experiences and new, amazing friendships that will last a lifetime.
It's those times that makes me wonder, and yearn, to know all of the experiences my grandfather had while collecting these trivial bars of soap for me. (See some photos of them all at my Flickr group.)
I know that in the long run these are just scented bars of salt from a fatty acid. But to me they represent a wonderful childhood fueled by someone that loves me unconditionally. My grandparents are my rocks that I live by. It just so happens that one of my favorite things from one of them will also help me maintain good body health and chemistry (a total win-win).
I love you, Papaw (and Papa, and both Mamaws). Thank you for giving me more than just a piece of your lives.