Monday, June 2, 2014

The Things I Carry

In a small zippered leather purse that looks like the old-time New York City coffee cups, I carry the following items everywhere I go:

  1. a cut-out photo of Sophie when she was recently diagnosed with infantile spasms and puffed up due to steroids
  2. a silk and silver pacifier clip that someone gave me when Sophie was born and is emblematic of that brief time before when sucking on a pacifier was enough to calm her crying
  3. a New York City subway token -- because I loved living there for the almost nine years I did so
  4. a dirtied, softened piece of paper with a note from my father that accompanied a check he sent to me for a treatment we wanted to try when Sophie was a baby. This is going to work, it said.
  5. Several angel charms
  6. A LOVE charm
  7. A Flow charm
  8. A MIRACLE stone
  9. A bug encased in a marble that I forgot to give one of my boys and decided to keep myself
Reader, what things do you carry?


  1. My magical red fountain pen, a lipstick which is decades old, a check from my dear and deceased father-in-law made out to me for a million dollars, a poem Jessie wrote a long time ago. Pesos.

  2. In my wallet I carry an Italian Lire bill from my first trip to Italy with my brother, a St. Ignatius of Loyola prayer card I received my Freshman year at Loyola, pictures of my Great-Grandparents, my wife, and my son. I also have a picture of my best friend Byron, who died at the age of 30 from Leukemia, some hair from Nick's first haircut, and a small prayer card an Indian monk gave me on one of my trips to India to keep me safe whenever I travel. I just realized that as a fairly lapsed Catholic, I carry a lot of religious stuff around with me, and I also wear a small black coral cross I bought the first day I moved to Belize, but I think they're all good luck charms to me, rather than religious symbols. Or maybe I'm just covering all my bases in case all the shit I did when I was younger comes back to haunt me.

  3. Four tubes of lipstick, because I can never find the right one. A tiny, tiny notebook in which I write the things that will make me rich and famous - note, it's tiny. A medal of St. Dympha (patron saint of the mentally ill) and a medal of St. George slaying the dragon. A silver engraved cigarette case that holdes my foodstamp card. A note from my daughter, when she was little that says "you can do it!"...god, I hope I did it. And the ripped off end of the haircolor box so I can remember the number of the one that works best.
    Oh yeah, and a band aide...just in case.

  4. oops, forgot this one...2! FREE, yes FREE coupons for a Mrs. Paul's fish product (not that I would ever eat one)valued at $6.99 EACH and they don't even sell Mrs. Paul's in the state of Oregon...gawd!

  5. I carry an antique key given to me by my high school girlfriend (!) more than 30 years ago. I carry it every day, on my key ring.

  6. This made me cry. The memories you carry with you.

    In my bag: a couple of emergency meds in a lovely soft cloth bag a friend made for me, my specs, a pencil with rubber for emergency sudiko while waiting anyhwere (usually medical appointments), a key ring with a smooth wooden cone, a very old nokia cell phone I use as a torch, a small leather folder with seven passport photographs of my daughter aged 7 - 20, and an out of date metal ID card from the years I worked in a beautiful tropical impoverished African country.

  7. Jesus. Nothing nearly so talismanic. Burt's Bees chapstick and my driver's license in case I get ID'd.

  8. The engraved key chain I gave my dad 25 years ago. His wife gave it to me when he died and I find myself playing with it subconsciously whenever I'm anxiously talking to someone I don't want to.

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  10. I carry a tiny ivory Buddha, smiling and with a nice round tummy. He is about the size of my thumbnail and I have had him since I was a teen (a LONG time). His tummy is very shiny because it is nice to rub. He is beautiful and brings me peace.



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