• author
    • Carolyn Wyler

      Columnist and C.E.O.
    • June 17, 2018 in Columnists

    A sword, an abacus, a letter and a chair

    The sword lies on display on the mantel above the fireplace, a souvenir from Japan bought years ago during the war. The abacus on the bookshelf counts the years (23) since his passing. A letter on the nightstand, quickly accessible to read at any nostalgic moment. The old worn out patio chair feels uncomfortable on the newly designed front porch, but still offers one a place to rest.

    These four items are all that I have that once belonged to my father. Others see these rusty, chipped, dirty and faded items as rubbish, but I see treasures worth more than any monetary value.

    The sword was purchased years ago when my dad was serving in Japan during World War II. He was never really a fighter. He would much rather opt out of a conflict whenever possible. He was a quiet, peaceful man who loved people and did his best to try to please them. If he really believed in something, however, he was not afraid to defend it. Right or wrong, there were three things he always believed in: his country, his religion and his family.

    The sword — a reminder to stand up for what you believe in and choose your battles wisely. Know when to speak up and when to remain silent is a sign of true maturity and insight.

    The abacus was also purchased while my dad served in Japan. Once it was a very popular tool (particularly in Asian countries) to calculate mathematical equations. After returning from World War II, my dad became an accountant. Though he rarely used it, as there were far more advanced and easier methods to calculate problems, he would always keep the abacus on display at his desk. As a young child, I was mesmerized by it and would play with it for hours. Moving the beads around in various positions, I would create my own unique artistic design.

    The abacus now sits on display in a bookcase at my home. An instrument of the past, but a reminder that the past is not all there is and we should not get stuck there. The abacus now with a few chips, cracks and a couple of beads fallen off, but I know that I can still count on it to create a new design.

    The letter was written and sent to me by my father while he was away on sabbatical for one summer when I was a teenager. He wrote of his love for me. I never doubted his love, as he had no problem showing me how much he showed cared, but I always appreciate that letter.

    The letter — a reminder to always let those who are close to you know you love and appreciate them.

    The chair my dad purchased around the time he found out he had lymphoma. He would sit in the chair out in the backyard when he was too worn out from his treatments.  He could relax while watching his grandkids running around and one of us kids fired up the barbecue. He didn’t always have a lot of energy after his chemo treatments but, unless you really knew him,  you would never know how much he was physically suffering. As long as he was with his family though, he was happy.

    The chair — a reminder that sometimes life sucks and gives you challenges, but always take time to relax and enjoy the things that really matter.

      • Maya Spier Stiles North

      • June 17, 2018 at 4:10 pm
      • Reply

      This is such a wonderful word picture of your dad! He just sounds sweet and smart and truly individual — and able to draw out of his life circumstances the stuff of joy. What a fantastic attitude to be raised with — you were blessed. <3

      • Carolyn Wyler

      • June 17, 2018 at 4:38 pm
      • Reply

      Thank you Maya. He was a great man.

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