This is the first photo I've done for my "Things That Are Important to Me" set in a very long time. The reason I did this particular still life involves my fiftieth birthday earlier this week. Instead of thinking so much about my big "50" I was remembering my 14th birthday in 1976. Let me explain:
My oldest brother, Richard ("Rick) was five years older than me, so in 1976, he was 19. He and I use to pass a baseball quite frequently. (I guess I need to say he was my best friend as well)! One day in the early summer of '76 we were doing just that when I made a wild throw that sent the ball into the weeds. It couldn't be found. Later, he came in with the baseball you see in the photo as my birthday present. (It was the last gift I can remember getting from him). The reason it has black all over it is because it was in the back of his VW Bug when he was hit head-on by a sleeping driver on Sept. 13th of the same year. The black is motor oil. He died at the scene. Needless to say, I've cherished this baseball for 36 years.
All the other items in the photo, with the exception of his senior portrait, were his. The bent key was in the ignition of his car the morning of the accident. The tool box was given to me shortly after he died by my mom. She knew I would take care of Rick's tools better than my other brother. (Most of the tools are still in excellent shape, and I still use them). Last year, she gave me his pocket knife that you see here as well. Rick had written his name on the sleeve that was over the box.