Sunday, June 30, 2013

Samaritan Sunday (June 30, 2013)

[If you should choose to adopt this prompt to contribute stories of folks who have gone out of their way to lend genealogy-related assistance to others, I would greatly appreciate a mention to Filiopietism Prism whenever you do so.  Thank you!  And please do use the same photograph below to illustrate the prompt.  ;-) ]

Some of the most mundane items that have little or no intrinsic value can often take on the most incredible importance and meaning to us.  For example, I have a brass letter opener bearing the Green Cross for Safety emblem on its handle.  The letter opener was used daily by my maternal grandparents and I recall admiring it on visits to their home in Cumberland, Rhode Island when I was quite young.  It was one of the only items I asked for when my grandmother passed away in 1979.  It is probably more than sixty years old now and I use it myself almost every day. For this reason, I can imagine what "Kuraki" must have gone through when his father died and he desperately searched for his Dad's Schrade Old Timer pocket knife and then years later had it returned as the result of a Good Samaritan moment.   

Kuraki's father was obviously of the generation (long before the regrettable security aftermath of 9-11) when a pocket knife was a cherished tool that was carried everywhere and used almost daily.  Kuraki searched in vain for his Dad's pocket knife and finally gave up; but then a Good Samaritan emerged and . . . Well, I'll have Kuraki tell the full story in his own words.  

[WARNING:  The story by "Kuraki" is posted here at a website I stumbled across in a search, but I am posting the full story verbatim rather than just directing readers to the site because a few of the comments about the story use exuberant language that might be perceived as unnecessary and offensive to some. I know nothing about the site other than finding this story there.

"My father, after battling multiple sclerosis for 30 years, passed away in August of 2008. I have many things of his, that my mother gave me being his only son. Some of them have great monetary value, like certain rifles and scopes, or the Zeiss field glasses she bought him as a Christmas gift 10 years ago. But there was one thing I searched for after the funeral. One thing that I desperately desired to have, because it was something I remembered from my childhood, something that he had always had with him, something that to me embodied who he was: a frugal man who only spent as much as he had to in order to obtain an acceptable level of quality to serve his purposes. The item I was looking through desk drawers, coat pockets, and cubby holes for, was his Schrade Old Timer pocket knife. He actually had two, and I could find neither. My father was only kept from being an A&E "Hoarder" by my mother's need for cleanliness and organization, and finding something like a little pocket knife was next to impossible. Eventually I wrote it up as being lost for good, as it had become a common occurrence during his last few years.

A few short weeks ago, the life insurance salesman that my parents dealt with had stopped by to see my mother. She still hadn't gotten rid of my father's hunting attire, though I had no use for it being 2 sizes larger and 6" taller. The insurance man however was a hunter and during small talk she mentioned all those clothes she couldn't bear to deal with. He offered to help her going through them, and when she asked him to simply put them in a garbage can for her, he offered to buy them, being of similar size. My mother asked him to take them all and enjoy them, happy to be rid of them and happy they would find use elsewhere, with the one caveat that should he find anything in the pockets that he return them, an old, worn pocket knife in particular.

I took my mom out to dinner tonight, and she asked me to hold out my hand. As I did she dropped this  into it. [The original post had a photo of Kuraki's Dad's Old Timer pocket knife but the image is no longer available]  I've rarely been so pleasantly surprised. I know it's not much, on a forum where expensive knives are showcased often, but it means the world to me, that an honorable man would spend the time to return such a trinket simply because it was important to a stranger.

I miss you, Dad, but now I'll forever have this bit of you with me."

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Photograph of the The Good Samaritan sculpture by Francois-Leon Sicard (1862 - 1934).  The sculpture is located in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, France.  The photograph is by Marie-Lan Nguyen and has been placed in the public domain by her. See,
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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