Tuesday 27 September 2011

Next Week It Just Might Be Me

I have always liked to collect things. It doesn’t really matter what, well, that isn’t true because I really have to have an interest in what I am collecting or it just won’t be fun.

I probably started like my grandson who collects rocks and small sticks. He will find an interesting rock (don’t ask me why one is more interesting than the other) and he will put it in his pocket or backpack. Sometimes, he will look at you and hold his hand out and offer the rock to you. I have always liked to encourage generosity and sharing in children, so of course I take it. One of them sits beside the bobble “Buddy Jesus” that I have on my dashboard. I guess that I am starting a collection of gifts from my grandson. You never know, in twenty years or so he might be rich and decide to give his Poppa a private room in the old folk’s home.

I used to love collecting bottle caps. It didn’t matter if they were rare or anything, I just liked the feel of running my hands through hundreds of bottle caps in a cardboard box. Back in the day, all pop came in bottles and they had caps which you would open on a built in opener the machine had. The caps would drop into a bin and the vendor was usually more than happy to have you empty it for them. Thinking back, I remember pouring them in my t-shirt to carry them home because I wouldn’t have a bag with me. I guess my mom got to collect dirty, stained and stretched t-shirts. On a side note, when I cleaned out my mom’s house, I found a Velveeta cheese box filled with the cork liners from pop bottles. I guess mom was a collector too.

I kind of collect bikes. I have pared it down to about six or seven now that the kids have left home and I don’t need bikes for parts. Understand that there isn’t really anything very special about these bikes, other than the fact I like them. I will ride three on a semi regular basis, a couple of them I liked the look of and the one in the rafters waiting to be repaired is just like the one that Charles Dunkle had when I was about five years old. Charles must have had the patience of Job, because he would load five or six of us kids on his bike and ride us around the neighbourhood. What a great time! Now I suppose, the mothers would be suspicious of a teenage boy spending time with little kids and make sure that their kids stayed away from Charles.

I also like stoves. Not kitchen stoves, although some of them are really neat, but where would I keep them? No, I like camping stoves, backpacking stoves in particular. I guess I have about fifteen or twenty stoves and a few lanterns as well. Some of them don’t work very well, but most of them are functional. I have a couple of MSR Whisperlites, three Optimus stoves, two XGK’s which will burn anything from aviation fuel to perfume to brandy. So, if I crash in the mountains of Switzerland on a plane filled with Swedish models I can burn their perfume, the airplanes fuel or wait till the Saint Bernard comes along with the brandy. I have this really cool stove from the Second World War that would be used for a small group of soldiers. The case is also the pot. I have this cute little stove that comes in a can. It is called “Stove in a Can”. I also have an alcohol stove which is pretty useless.

My current fixation is planes. Not the kind you fly in, but the kind that will smooth out a plank for you. There are quite literally thousands of varieties, so I have only scratched the surface with a measly eight. Planes were the original routers, so there are all of these beautiful odd shaped, well crafted wooden planes. I am not going to bore you with a description of the planes, but you should look into these wonderful tools. Or not.

I can’t wait to see what I will collect next. Did I mention my collection of losing lottery tickets from the eighties? Yeah, it is pretty depressing to look at, but the idea is to someday make a glass topped table with all of these as a reminder that someone won and next week it just might be me.

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