The Light at the End of the Tunnel


Coleman.pngSpecial day. Old friend of mine who I went to school with from the 4th grade through high school dropped by. He’s a Coleman lantern collector…though I only found that out recently. Clearly, you’ll get the gist of this post from the image. I’ll get there shortly.

You share a lot in life, and sometimes you work in the same place for decades and share your life, like it or not, with coworkers or business associates. For at least some of us, however, our most lasting memories and friendships come from what is, towards the twilight of life, an astonishingly short period, public school.

The total time ranges from all 12 to as little (in those days) as 3 years. But many become implanted even at the low end of the scale. I can’t possibly explain it. But I see it in others now. And it is priceless.

Eugene’s visit was more than just reminiscing with and old friend. It was a holy moment that can only be experienced by those who spent formative time together, but went on to a diaspora before swimming back up stream to where they were spawned. We chatted for maybe 30 minutes total in the AM before I brought out my grandmother’s Coleman lamp. He took it with him, and I said don’t worry over when you have time to mess with it. I know it’s in good hands. I figured it would be indefinite time before I hear from him, and was perfectly good with that.

About three hours later, knock at the door. Eugene is back, and he has the lantern I inherited from my grandmother in hand. He’s already completely restored it and you can see the result above. He’s also able to show me in a book he has the precise “Alligator” white globe I have (not shown) and the entire history of the lamp.

Of course, we had a deep technical discussion about how to use and maintain the lamp, but we soon transitioned under the  soft hiss of the 8 decade old family heirloom and then

The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

And for nearly two hours, we did just that. Then we hugged and parted.



About malletteblog

If folks respond and push back, I will continue this blog. I do this to learn, not to teach. While I will defend my positions vigorously I will change them immediately upon evidence they are incorrect. This is how I learn, and I appreciate all efforts to help me not be a fool who learns only by experience.
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