I have this check that I can't throw away. It is for $50 and it was written in 2002. It's from my Dad. I remember him giving it to me for absolutely no reason. He said, "Here this is for you and P." It's in his writing, his all caps but the letters that are supposed to be lowercase are just caps by half the size. It has his messy signature that I always thought was so cool as a child. It was never cashed because at some point we lost it. (I know, morons. Trust me, it wasn't that we didn't need it.) From the stamp on the check is looks like we found it and P tried to deposit it almost a year later. Unfortunately, since it was to both of us and only his signature was on it, they wouldn't let us. The date on the stamp is October 21, 2003. My Dad passed away on October 31st, 2003.
This check has bounced around the apartment we were in at the time and the home we are in now. I found it most recently in a drawer I was re-organizing. I keep stashing it places because I can not bring myself to throw it away and let me tell you, a pack rat I am not. Now I need to find a new place. Right now it is sitting in front of me and for some reason the writing just gets to me.
He was a Chemical Engineer, a really good one. Later on when saving the planet became more and more important, he was called an Environmental Engineer. He was a numbers and logic guy. He needed to write it all down and when I mean all I mean ALL. He designed waste water treatment plants and cleaned up old army munitions sites and did it right. When a certain government department refused to pay the company he worked for my Dad had such incredibly intricate, copious notes that the government looked like idiots trying to prove that the work they asked for wasn't done. He liked to take notes on graph paper, as I do now. I am not sure if it spoke to the order he liked or it was just easier because there was lots of it around. I just always remember looking at his writing and thinking how cool and it was, in all caps, kinda bucking the system I was used to in my all girls private Catholic school (hell).
I remember the letters he wrote us from Egypt when he was there for 6 weeks on a project. They were always like 6 pages long, describing everything he saw in such detail so that we could see it at home. He did the same when he was in Costa Rica and the UAE. You can tell, he traveled a lot. The writing was one of those things I could always count on, whether it was a note where he was staying or a long letter from and exotic place. I think that's why I don't want to let the check go or more to the point, the writing. Right now, he is somewhere else, it may be exotic, it may be wonderful but I know I won't be getting a letter from there from him.
Happy Birthday, Dad, wherever you are.