I don't know - maybe it's all the emotion with the death of my brother, and his beautiful military funeral with a nine-gun salute and the folding of the flag which was presented to my neice, but it was difficult to remain sober and not cry - I failed the attempt. We all did. The military part of the funeral was definitely the most emotional. My brother was a Navy veteran. Maybe it's the cold realization that he really is gone, that my mother is gone, that my father has long been dead.
My brother had several heirlooms belonging to my father, including a pocketwatch that I had coveted for years, and a mustache cup. These two items I knew of, as well as a 1888 edition of "The Bible Gallery" illustrated by Gustave Dore' that I remember drawing in when I was about four or five years of age. Gorgeous thing with a blue velvet cover.
My neice said she had my father's pocketwatch, which she was going to bring to me at the funeral, but didn't know anything about the mustache cup or the illustrated bible. I had figured these things were long gone. But following the funeral, my neice came up to me with the pocketwatch, as well as the illustrated Bible which she had found going through my brother's things, as well as my father's straight razor.
I've always been an emotional sort, but I could not believe these riches, my father's belongings - of which I had none prior to today - were now in my hands and belonged to me. The emotionalism of these things was profound for me. And an old photo of my father, which I never seen, lay in my hands - I'm going to share it with you because he looked exactly like me at his age. People had told me I look like him, but I didn't really know because I was three when he died of tuberculosis. I know now, however, and I felt so overwhelmed it's hard to describe my emotions. Wonderful, to say the least. I suddenly felt I was a part of my father, I was now one with my father, which I had never felt before. It's a glorious feeling.
Here's my father, obviously a real farm boy: