It’s funny how the simplest of things at times can prompt a smile.
I thought of that most recently as I searched my office desk for something and not only found it, but something else as well.
Last week marked my first full week back in the office since the start of the 2022 year. Wednesday in particular was especially special as it was the first time in the New Year I was not riding as a passenger on my way to UCSF, as I have every Wednesday since January 5.
Oh yes, I know for some this is “no big deal” and “who really cares,” but I happen to be a girl who believes in celebrating moments and for me (as well as my children) this was indeed a big moment.
No longer are Tuesday nights spent packing snacks and water in a lunch bag, loading up busy work and making sure I have “all I need.” No longer updating those close to me on “who’s my driver,” and how am I feeling.
Some of you understand all of this. As I know the sad and harsh reality is I am not the first one to burn the miles back and forth to the Bay Area in search of an end to the means, so for each of you an equal congrats. It’s a big deal. We overcame some tough stuff.
And so … speaking of stuff … last week I found myself in need of a measuring tape to measure something a colleague was offering me for my home. Generosity at its finest, yet I didn’t want to say yes if it wouldn’t fit the space.
I just knew that measuring tape was in my desk; I shared with the rest of the office.
There was just one problem.
Shortly after learning I had cancer I shared with Editor Marg Jackson I no longer wanted to sit in the “News Room” with the rest of the reporters. That space is tucked in the back, away from public view, where work can be done uninterrupted.
I realized I missed seeing the faces of our community, as well as the outdoors. I wanted to be back up front, in the thick of the chaos and calamity. The comedy here, is I made this move during COVID, no one was coming in. But … I knew what would be and I wanted to be a part of that.
So as I searched for the measuring tape, in all seven drawers of my vintage 1960s desk, I began wondering if maybe I had taken it home.
Just as I hit the very last drawer, there it was. My old red measuring tape, with a touch of duct tape in the corner to keep the case from popping open. Yet even better, much to my surprise, right alongside of it my old wood handled hammer, complete with all its imperfections.
As I shared earlier, I believe in celebrating moments, large and small. This discovery was not different. Finding it, I could not help but share my joy with the rest of the office staff. Fully recognizing it might sound odd to have such things in my office desk, yet there they were.
My trusty hammer and measuring tape, both given to me by my mom over 30 years ago when I first left home. The duct tape addition to the measuring tape would be added a few years later by my children’s father. The wood handle of the hammer, definitely showing life with scars to the handle.
Most especially the memory of my mom giving said things to me, simple as they are, as I began my journey into adulthood.
Truth be told and for those who know me well, I really don’t care much about stuff (i.e.: things). I’m a memories not things kinda girl. However when it comes to stuff/moments like this, I find myself grateful.
Grateful for a mom who sent me off into the world with things which would serve me well as I set roots and began my own home. Grateful for the precision and accuracy that tape has afforded me in creating spaces which matter to me. Grateful for the hammer which has made tasks easier. And of course and most importantly grateful for the memories, the time travel and the pride attached to the usage of two simple “things.”
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.