Thursday, April 3, 2008

How do you save your precious souvenirs and trinkets?

The simple answer is to take a picture. Most people have them in a drawer, a picture case, or on a shelf of some sort. I have placed some of mine as shown above in a wooden display case with velvet bottom and glass cover. Then, you can post the picture to a blog or some other album in your house or on the Internet. Of course if the picture is on the Internet, you have to beware of migration- such as the termination of Yahoo's photo album feature. I had to transfer my images from Yahoo to an Internet album at .

Below, I describe my trinkets, beginning generally at the top of the image. They are definitely a part of our Family's history:

* A few arrowheads and arrowhead fragments. I understand the big, quartz one, which seems to be the crudest, was probably made by an eastern tribe of Indians. I found these on ridge-top of Brushy Moutain when our family first moved to Blacksburg, VA. Note the bottom fragment of a small obsidian arrow head in which you can see the notches for tying the arrowhead to a shaft (found on Nevada Test Site).

*In the top left corner is a very tiny starfish.

*A fold-over, red pin with letters "ROM" which reminds me of a visit with Annie to the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada in 1990. I was working at the Ginna Nuke plant and made the trip to the museum stopping at Niagara Falls, NY, on the way. So, you see why such trinkets are dear to me- they evoke pleasant memories of many years ago.

*top-right: Three brass-colored medallions for participating in the Annual Galax Old Time Fiddler's convention in southern Virginia. One medallion is from the 50th anniversary convention. I competed for several years in the old time banjo and old time band categories, but never won. However, one of the highlights of my life was winning first place old time banjo in the Bluefield (West Virginia) Fiddler's convention and winning a few second places elsewhere. Uncle Mudd lives on.

*Two Ribbons from my sponsorship of a Russell Sept, welcoming table at the annual Scottish Festival and Games at Ligonier, Pennsylvania in 1993 and 1994. The table stood under a tent and I tried to establish an interest in forming a Russell Clan. Though the effort did not result in a clan I did meet several others of the Russell name, and it was a convenient place to meet some of my Russell cousins for the first time in my life.

*The Maine to Georgia patch symbolizes my long time dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Though I did not hike the entire 2000 miles of the trail, I did hike over 200 linear miles in sections- usually doing a round trip. Now with prostate cancer and hormone therapy that weakens my muscles, I will never realize my whole dream- unless I make the journey on a Segway. I can bicycle better than I can walk, so hopefully, I can still do those long distances under my own muscle power. Recently, I've day-dreamed of crossing the country on a recumbent trike.

*There's the Myakka River patch which I obtained after a backpacking trip in this Florida State Park. I sewed these and several other patches on my favorite backpack (which unfortunately I never took a picture of).

*A Wheel Club pen from my Walter Johnson High School. The club was sponsored by Rotary International. All the big jocks belonged to the club.

*A Civil War bullet which I picked up in an antique store near Spring City, TN. I was working at Watt's Bar nuke plant at the time. I believe the bullet is made out of lead or some heavy metal- will check back later.

*Fossilized shark's teeth which I found while swimming in the Chesapeake Bay.

*The rattles from the tail of a western rattle snake. About 40 some years ago, I started a post graduate degree at University of Nevada Southern which was supposed to lead to a Master's in Parasitology. One of my projects was to collect one hundred snakes and identify the parasites from their innards. I collected about 12 snakes, mostly fresh road kills, until I talked my professor into studying the parasites in 100 jack rabbits instead- they were more plentiful on the roadsides. I wonder if my old professor Bert B. Babero is still around. He had some interesting stories to tell of his life as a parasitologist. I never finished my course at Nevada, primarily because I moved my family back East. Later, I obtained a Master's in Environmental Health at University of Oklahoma.

*Various invertebrate fossils collected from central Tennessee. My daughters called them "Indian money". Perhaps they were used as such a long time ago.

*There is the tiny Swiss cowbell on a key chain I used during my two year post-doctorate at Institute de Biochimie Clinique de Geneve. We only had a car, a Morris Mini, for one year of that two-year period.

*A reindeer medallion from Saltzburg, Austria, similar to the medallions one can find pinned on the walking sticks used by European hikers. For some reason the tradition never caught on here in the States. I had an idea one time of creating similar medallions for sites along the Appalachian Trail or other national trails and selling them to hikers. The walking sticks of today are made of high-tech, light resins. I don't know if one can pin trinkets on them.

*In the center of the image is a key chain with a tiny compass and whistle. It almost always brings a lump to my throat. My daughters bought it for me at a tourist stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were on our way to visit relatives in Maryland. They knew I loved to hike and at the time I was feeling pretty blue for reasons I won't go into now. But the thoughts of my kids as they purchased this trinket to precisely fit my personality are just too emotional. And I'm tearing as I write these words.

So, the trinkets and souvenirs might someday be trashed or lost, but the words of this entry will hopefully live on. As you can see, there is a host of information and memories inherent in these items. I have just skimmed their surface.

By the way, every so often I go to our public library's computers and print out several pages of this blog on their laser printer for 10 cents a page and then bind them into a book with a plastic comb. Someday, I would love to put the pages into a hardbound book.

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