I like having knick knacks and paddy whacks. (Sometimes I even give my dog a bone. Sorry, I couldn't resist.) I like having stuff, like the "rock" my husband made when he tried sculpting in high school and the bronze Egyptian treasure we found at an antique store on our 8th anniversary. I like my teacups with feet and the mallard duck bookends that hold up my antique book collection.
I like the baseball glove I've had since I was a kid, probably 10 years old or so. It's my autograph glove, and even though I go to spring training games every year, I only have three autographs on it.
One signature I got when I was 10. Mike Jeffcoat, who was then a member of my favorite team, The Texas Rangers.
One was signed my first year at spring training, when I thrust my Sharpie and glove at a unknown Rangers player. I still have no idea who it was.
Then, a few years later, my parent were visiting and we went to (yet another) Rangers spring training game (they must've been playing the Cubs that day), where catcher Joe Garagiola happened to be signing copies of his book. He was the last signature I had on my glove.
But there's nothing like having dogs that chew up all your stuff to learn how to let things go.
I now only have two signatures. The entire front of the glove, and the unknown players signature, has been devoured by puppy teeth who think a baseball glove smells good.
Can't say I blame them. It does probably smell like dirt and dead cow.
It also smells like hot dogs and commemorative soda cups and Texas summer nights and friendship and childhood.
I'm sad. I'm upset that an important symbol from my childhood has been destroyed. Baseball has always been such a big part of my life.
But I've also taken the road to less belongings. To letting go.
While my autographed glove is never something I would have ever let go of, I think that the process of attaching less meaning to items has helped me get past the anger of losing such a treasure. Because I will always have the memories.
I still have the memories of all the baseball games I went to, the autographs I got, the players and plays I saw. I was at games Nolan Ryan pitched. I cheered Pudge on as he threw a man out at second. I read articles about the players, including a funny one about Will Clark that made him one of my favorite players, but I didn't keep the article. I spent countless hours watching baseball games in person and on TV, recording each ball and strike. I never kept any of those scorecards either, but I still have the memories. Such will have to be the way with this autograph glove. Memories will carry on, even though the mangled remains of the glove won't.
After all, they are just puppies. They don't even know who Joe Garagiola is.
This is the first time in my life I have ever been glad this glove didn't have a Pudge Rodriguez or Nolan Ryan autograph.