I’m sitting at my father’s desk. He had it built once he retired and it always held a place of honour in his houses. It exudes his essence and tells of a time past. The calculator with a roll of paper behind it. The prodigious roll of stamps waiting to accompany bills and birthday cards to their intended destinations. The pens and legal pads of an era before computers. Check registers going back to the 70s detailing every one if his expenditures.

As I weeded through the drawers, I came across a file with my name on it. In it he had saved every card and letter—and email—I wrote to him and my mother. I have three brothers, but my file was the biggest because I moved far away and then travelled like crazy for a period of time. I, of course, didn’t keep any of my emails. They disappeared into the cloud before the cloud existed. But my Dad kept everything because he was a print kind of guy.

I loved writing to my Dad wherever I went because I got my sense of adventure from him. I knew he would love being where I was and seeing what I saw. At least that’s what I imagined. And now I have a chronicle of my adventures that I had forgotten existed. A lovely treasure to discover as I work to dismantle and disburse a life well lived.

Sitting at this desk of his, I also recall his counsel when I launched my own business five years ago. He was the managing partner at a successful law firm in Spokane, Washington. He used to tell me how he would sit at his desk and wonder what the next phone call would bring. Apparently the phone always rang and brought new business because he did well. As I work on getting my version of the phone (email and skype) to ping, I think about him doing the same thing and it gives me valuable perspective.

This desk is going back to Guelph. It’s a pig. One piece with a glass top. It won’t be easy to get out of this current study (it got in—it’s gotta go out again!) nor up the stairs into my office—not to mention across the country. But it resonates with me. It’s a piece of my dad I can’t leave behind.