My father’s dresser stood roughly 5′ high and was made of a dark striped mahogany.
The handles were brushed bronze and made an interesting ‘clink’ after drawer was opened.
The most interesting thing was an item sitting on top of it;
a cast iron piggy bank that weighed about 3 lbs. with a lock on the underside of the belly.
But the strangest thing was that it was painted blue which made no sense to me whatsoever.
Pigs were not blue.
There was a small felt-lined box that held his wristwatch, rings, spare change, assorted cufflinks and an old broken lighter that I assumed had been my cigar smoking grandfathers.
There was a picture of me and my sister Maureen and an old black and white TV kitty-cornered leaning against the wall.
All of this sat on an ivory colored doily of sorts.
Actually the laced doily may have originally been white but discolored with age,
I could never be quite sure.
Dad was an orderly man, maybe even a bit anal retentive when it came to his dresser.
The drawers in order: sox, underwear and t-shirts, cheeno’s and jeans, polos and sweatshirts and in the bottom draw there was an odd assortment of archaic and godforsaken film reels (8mm) that he would never see, pocket watches, old broken wristwatches, pencils, pens, gag gifts from various milestone birthdays, an empty bottle of holy water and a grass stained baseball or two.
Upon opening any drawer of the dresser the thing I remember most vividly was the obvious scent of the man.
Though I find it hard to describe, imagine fresh warm linen with a hint of a melancholy and long forgotten rainy day.
That was my Dad.
One thing that’s baffled me all these years was his wearing of boxer shorts.
Images of him standing in front of the bathroom mirror shaving wearing nothing but boxers, a white t-shirt and stretch black socks are seared in my mind forever.
I distinctly remember the day I cleaned out his dresser for the last time.
With the exception of his boxers and t-shirts, every drawer held a different memory of him.
In his bottom drawer I found a metal ‘bank’ box that contained old bank passbooks, faded photos of people I didn’t know and various documents he had been saving.
Underneath the pile I found a tie tack I’d made him when I was about 8 years old.
It was brushed silver and had a semi-polished jasper stone set in the middle.
I made it at the same time I’d made my mother’s ‘precious stone’ earrings (each earring weighed about 8oz)
Finding the tie clip wasn’t so much of an emotional thing for me.
He didn’t leave it there for me to find.
He just never threw things like that away.
It was one more thing for me to learn about a man I would soon be losing.
The piggy bank is resting comfortably in my cellar right now in a box with all his stuff.
To this day I’m still wondering why the hell it was painted blue.
Maybe someday I’ll still be able to ask him . . .