Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Passing The Torch (Literally!)

I've known Sgt Uncle T for a good long time now. He worked in the control center when my wife worked up there and he was her sergeant. And she always made him fancier food than she made me, most of the time. (grin)

I'm probably going to get whacked for that one. Ah, well.

About three weeks ago he quit smoking. Just woke up one morning and said "Frack it! I'm done!" And hasn't smoked since.

I didn't really let on how proud of him I was for that. Proud and impressed. It takes a large sack of coconuts to pull that off cold turkey. Me, I couldn't do it. Not like that, anyway.

The whole time I knew him as a smoker he always carried this old battered Zippo lighter in a leather case hanging on his duty belt. I always admired the case and that Zippo looked like it was an antique. Old brass and battered and dented with an Indian on the face of it. The hinge is loose and held together with a chunk of paperclip and the lid wobbles like crazy when you open it.

That's it there. It looks like something found at Little Big Horn after Custer bit the big wazoo there. So well used and obviously it was his favorite. Imagine the stories it could tell...

Anyway, after he quit smoking, I asked him if I could have his lighter and case. Or just the lighter. Or just the case. I was just being silly, figuring he would never part with it. When I asked he called me a few choice names, like I was asking for his first born or something.

Actually, he probably would have given me his first born easier than his favorite Zippo.

So today he walks up to me and says "I gave it alot of thought." I hadn't a clue what he was talking about. That conversation was a couple of weeks ago.

Then he said "Here you go." and laid the lighter in the case up on the counter. At first I thought he was just fracking with me. Uncle T is known for that sort of thing.

But he was serious. "I don't need it anymore. It's yours." Then he showed me how it clips onto my duty belt.

I was touched. I even got a little misty-eyed there for a moment, but I didn't let it show. That would have embarrassed the snap out of both of us. But I felt like I had passed a test and was being initiated into the Secret Mysteries. Like Thomas Gates learning the first clue to the Templar Treasure.

That lighter is so old and beat up and battered and neat that I'm almost afraid to carry it to work. It's almost like a sacred relic of Raccoon City history. I feel like I should enshrine it in a velvet lined case and let it live out it's days in comfort. Maybe I'll trade off between that and my plain simple brushed chrome lighter. It's still young and can take the abuse better.

Okay, ladies. It's a Guy Thing. But it meant alot to me.

I just wanted to say "Thanks, Uncle T!" You really made my day.

Now I'm going to stomp on a glass and shout "Mazel Tov!"

Thursday is going to be National Brandied Fruit Day. Umm... Yick. That is definitely not my cup of cheese. It's also going to be Miss American Rose Day and Get To Know Your Customers Day.

Yeah. Most of them know me already.

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