Here is my odd trophy shelf. It’s full of things that I like to look at but that have no real useful purpose. The little Ford model cars on the left are pencil sharpeners. The story that goes with these is that as a boy my grandfather from Texas gave me one with the condition that I not break it and always take care of it. So here it is. Somewhere I came upon another one just like it. In my grandpa’s dining room in Texas is a showroom full of little cars and knick knacks. I didn’t understand the reasoning as a kid, to give me a toy that wasn’t for play. But now I have lots of little knick knacks that I appreciate. Beside the cars are five pipes. They are: a Missouri Mierschaum (Corn cob), three different pipes from India, and a real Mierschaum from Egypt (thanks Jen!). I don’t smoke and never have but somehow one pipe led to another until I have five. The big cross in back was made out of a block of wood from a sheet metal pallet that I made back in 1998(?). The other small cross is from a little cross making shop in Beit Sahour Palestine. The image over the speaker is of John the Baptist pointing to Christ. The same painting that hung over Karl Barth’s desk.
On the smoking thing, I remember that dad once sat me down and promised me a hundred dollars if I could make it through high school without taking up smoking. I think we both forgot about that wager. I remember that conversation happening because I used to sneak through the desk in the office and play with the cigarettes that were taken from the women at the homeless shelter where we lived. I never actually lit one up, but I was curious. Another time I remember walking back from the circus at the Checker Dome with some families from the shelter. We were walking along and one of the moms held out her hand with a pack of cigarettes in it to tap it. I snuck up and grabbed it out of her hand and threw it over the fence next to us. We were friends and I thought it would be a fun joke. She was quite upset, but instead of tearing into me she made her son climb this ten foot chain length fence and get her cigarettes. I learned a valuable lesson from that. Other people’s property is their property! Cigarettes cost money that as a kid I couldn’t afford to pay. My stupid little intervention was nothing short of theft. Friendship and play is no excuse for invasion of personal space.