You know when a particular song from your childhood comes over the radio and you are instantly transported back to a specific moment in time? Memories come rushing back as you remember where you were, what you were doing, and who you were with.
I believe the reason this happens is because in that moment, the correlation between the two, completely unintentional, was when we were most happy. A certain song may remind you of being with a high school sweetheart at a dance, or it may connect emotionally to what you were feeling at the moment. In much the same way, objects, such as toys or games, can conjur up a time in our lives that we can recall with vivid detail.
In this case, it was a chess set. There was nothing distinctly special about it on the surface. It had the same black and white board, and the pieces were the same as any other. But what made this particular set so special was how it played a role in forming a bond between my father and me that would last a lifetime.
I was in my 8th grade school year and had begun to take an interest in chess after learning the game from my classmates. Although my father knew how to play, we did not own a set because up until then, no one else had taken an interest in the game. Until, one day I came home with the enthusiasm of a 5-year old begging my father for a chess set so I could become the next Bobby Fischer!
After a few weeks of relentless pleading and convincing, my father did in fact bring home a chess set. However, this was not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill, K-Mart plastic set, this thing was magnificent! I couldn’t believe how extravagant and detailed it was. It was clear my father had been waiting for this moment and someone to share it with. I was happy to oblige.
Call it fate or coincidence, but within a week of bringing home this masterful work of art, we were hit with the “Blizzard of ’78.” As you can probably guess, day after day, after day, after day, my father and I would play each other, pausing it seems, only briefly, to eat or sleep, then it was right back to the game. This went on for what seemed like weeks, I couldn’t get enough.
I didn’t know it at the time, or maybe subconsciously I did, but my father and I were sharing moments that would last a lifetime. It wasn’t planned, but that’s how those things work. We have to somehow recognize those moments when we are in them, before it’s too late. I miss my Pop, but I look forward to playing with him in Heaven again someday.
These are photos of the actual set, which I still have, that my father purchased in 1978.
until next time…