Sunday, September 28, 2014

What's in Your Gunny Sack?

In Ann Tyler's novel "Breathing Lessons" there is a character who believed that when he died and went to heaven all the things he lost in his lifetime would be given to him in a gunny sack.  Things like: the red sweater his mother knitted for him that he left on the bus, or the diamond ring his sweetheart failed to return when she broke off their engagement.  I read this and thought "What a great writing prompt!  What will be in my gunny sack when I die?"  Here is my answer.

  • My white teddy bear. The first stuffed animal I ever loved. I remember crying myself to sleep over his loss.
  • The beautiful scarf my dad bought me from Denmark. I left it in the 3D theatre at the Cincinnati zoo and never went back and get it.
  • The umbrella my sister Brooke gave me for my birthday.
  • The black jacket I loved that I left at the Baldwin Farms pumpkin patch.
  • Our Australian shepherd puppy Dance. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard in my life as I did when I saw her body lying dead in the snow after getting hit by a truck.
  • My brother Michael’s old baby blanket that he gave to my son Samuel when he was first born. I left it on a bench at the Louisville airport.
  • The diaper bag that my sociology professors gave at the baby shower for Samuel. We left it on top of the car when we were traveling and it fell along the highway somewhere in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • The disc golf driver my husband gave me as a birthday present. I lost it on the Berea disc golf course and someone was even kind enough to call and tell me they found it.  I arranged to pick it up, but for some reason I never ended up going. 
  • The wedding band I lost after fiddling with it in the dark while singing lullabies to Sam. I looked for it in the morning, but never found it.
This list is short but it was painful for me to write.  I guess that means it's an excellent writing prompt.  I was forced to recollect things from my past that I regret losing and tried to forget about.  I found it interesting that the majority of the things on this list were gifts given to me by people I love dearly.  It's funny how remembering the loss of little things like scarves and diaper bags should hurt me.  Sometimes it's the small things that hurt you the most.

I would love to hear what other people would put in their gunny sacks.  Name a few items right off the top of your head. You may be surprised by the memories that pop up first.  

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