Thursday, October 23, 2008


As you very well know, it's common to be handed down some one's legacy, to be left a fortune, or to be the heir to something fabulous. When my Grandma Pancake passed away four years ago, the family went through her estate and handed everyone the things her and Grandpa had deeded out. I, the only granddaughter, received her string of pearls, wedding silverware, and collection of Buddhas. Grandma Pancake was not Buddhist, I don't think she practiced any sort of religion, ever. She once took a ceramic class and made a miniature Buddha, swathed in purple robes. That sat on her kitchen shelf my whole life. She also made a 2" Buddha in deep gold, bronzes, and greens. He sat by her hutch in the dining room. She never said why she made them, liked them, or displayed them. But I got them. There was also a small wooden one someone brought back for her from the Philippines, or Hawaii. I have them all in my office ... she meant for me to have them for a reason. They surround me now.

Five years ago, I had to walk past the Dad's office cubicle to get to my office. That is how I met him. He immediately caught my attention- I should say his cube immediately caught my attention. The Dad is a graphic designer, he works in animation and motion graphics. In his cube were 20 or so McDonald's Happy Meal toys ... all arranged perfectly, lovingly. Now he was 25 at the time. I know, weird, right. But after I found the courage to stop and say hello to him and ask him about his toys, I realized they were simply professional inspiration. As a designer, cartoons inspired him. The figures were mostly from Disney Pixar movies- Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. A few random Nemo, Lilo & Stitch. The Dad said he loved Pixar movies, owned them all, and wasn't ashamed. Oh, my heart!

One day, as I was packing my office to move across town into our new office space, I stole Mike, from Monsters, Inc. off the Dad's desk and held him ransom. I would send cryptic letters through our courier service demanding things like beer to return him unharmed. The Dad laughed at me, he knew exactly which of his buddies had gone missing, from exactly which spot on his perfectly organized desk he was snatched. It was around then the Dad told me someday, his toys would go to his children. I told him for as mint of condition as they were in, he could probably make some cash off eBay. No, he said, they'll be for my kids.

Last night, the Dad came home with an ice cream pail, brimming full of bright plastic faces. He gave his legacy to his daughter. I said to him, "Babe, your desk is going to be so empty now ... it'll be so different."

"Naaa," he said, "I have pictures of the lil' dude instead."

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