Heirlooms can hold sentimental value to some

Mom and Dad had an old trunk that they said came from Uncle Jack. You might think it was full of doodads from yesteryear, but it only contained a copious amount of spider webs, yet the beauty was there, and a young lad could only imagine the treasures that it once held. 

Well, we cleaned it up and that was what I kept my clothes in along with a few odds and ends that could only be important to a young lad. It was well used and hauled along every time my family moved to a new location. We moved four or five times, so it was beat and banged up pretty bad and eventually the lid broke off. 

I worked hard to repair it only to have it destroyed when our house caught fire and burned down with all of our possessions. That old trunk was not a great loss, but it was my first exposure to a family heirloom. Oh, there were several others, like one of Papa Hop’s bibles and pocketknives and another one from Granddad Cathey and a quilt top sewed by Grandmother, not real important, except to me. 

Then later I got my Dad’s .38 Special that I snuck out to shoot several years ago (my ears are still ringing) Later, after Dad had died, Mom asked me if I would like to have an old diary that my Dad had kept while he was a prisoner of war in a German Stalag in World War II. It was old and brittle, written on scraps of paper and tied to gather with a couple of pieces of string. 

Of course, I was thrilled, but I am here to tell you that was some hard reading. I have been able to copy it and give copies to brothers and sisters and children as well as copies of my Mom’s favorite recipes. 

There are several other items, not really worth anything except they hold a sentimental value to me. Then, I started thinking about what I have to pass along, and it is kind of spooky when I stop to tally up all the junk I have accumulated. Well, I started thinking about some of that and realized that some of the things I feel to be important really don’t amount to much. 

But what really is important that I leave for future generations are things like living the type of life that other folks could see an example of living a Christ filled life, though I didn’t start that near early enough, or a reputation of being a fair and compassionate person, or maybe, one that could see what needed to be done and did not stop until the job was finished, or one that left smiles and laughter for folks to enjoy. 

Cowboy poet, S. Omar Barker, would say such a man would do to “ride the river with!” A man could not leave a better legacy and I guess that could be considered a family heirloom. 

But there will also be things like a favorite pocketknife, bible, hat, or shot gun; but the things that really matter are, did you live your life with love, compassion, and honor, seeking the truth, with a belief in doing what is right, thus leaving the world a better place. Of course, an old deer rifle would be good too!


The Old Heirloom


It was old an’ scarred, a beauty to behold,

Surrounded with history,

This feller had a story that he told,

 That cleared up the mystery.


Like a beloved book or an old-time friend,

You savored a chance to hear,

That old gent’s word from beginning to the end,

A chance to relive yesteryear.


The old gent said that ol’ rifle had been around,

 Law an’ order to owl hoot trail,

Looked a little ragged, but was shore ‘nuff sound,

Oh, the stories it could tell.


Don’t know where it started many years ago,

But wound up in a ranger’s hand,

After a tussle with a desperado,

Tryin’ to make his last stand.


Bounced up an’ down the trail for many years

Then to a lawman’s gun rack,

To be used to arm a posse it appears,

All wrapped up in a gunnysack.


It was saved from a fire when the jail burned down,

Was scorched an’ covered with soot,

Got cleaned up by a gunsmith there in town,

Sold it to a tenderfoot.


But he fell on hard times an’ put it up for sale,

An’ it became the old gent’s gun,

It was always with him over hill an’ dale,

Its journey had just begun.


You see that old gent was purty fond of that piece,

Where he went, it went along,

An’ the hunts they had seemed to never cease,

Harmony, just like a song.


In later years, he gave that gun to his son,

An’ he, to his boy, I presume,

Thus, the plans for a grand tradition was begun,

With the history of a family heirloom.


It was old an’ scarred, a beauty to behold,

Surrounded with history,

This feller had a story that he told,

That cleared up the mystery.

©  Ol’ Jim Cathey


God Bless you and God Bless America!



The Marlin Democrat

251 Live Oak St
Marlin, TX 76661
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