By Dave Markwell

Once a year, I dig through my closet to find my wig. Over time, the staple element of my perennial “guy-in-a-wig” Halloween costume has become a little knappy. Originally, it was a silky, blond, somewhat poofy, Joe-Dirty mullet, complete with business in the front and party in the back. It has become frazzled and worn with nominal utility, but like many things I own, I suspect it’s just become more like me.

The other day I looked for my wig. It was gone. I searched potential spots and it was nowhere to be found. It was really gone. I had finally succeeded in losing this thing. Nonetheless, I was still a bit perplexed as to where it could have vanished. Some items in my household just stick around. I can’t seem to lose them, even if I really wouldn’t mind. There’s a weird, disjointed time capsule of miscellaneous junk that seems to follow me. Like a strange, ironic, cosmic joke, I lose the stuff I need or want to keep, but trip over the 15 year old chunk of rubber fake dog doo. I’m beginning to think that the lost socks from my dryer somehow magically shape-shift into some of these other things. It’s a mystery.

When I can’t find things, I have two possible explanations. One- I’m irresponsible and lost it. Two- my son took it. (and lost it, because he’s irresponsible, too) During my hunt for the wig, I searched my boy’s room. I found many things, some of which I had been looking for, my wig was not among them.

In the complicated alchemy of father-son relationship dynamics, I felt somewhat grateful to find a book I was looking for, and probably asked my son about, in his room. It was like he was gifting me my own stuff. And I was happy about it. He’s away at college and I miss him, but feeling grateful and loving about finding my lost things in his bedroom still seems incongruent. I suspect it may just be the timeless, but necessary, acceptance of things we cannot change. I felt a nostalgic longing for the days when he was little, shamelessly stealing my things, and moving about our home without care. Well, like my wig, those days are gone, too. But, like many things we lose, I was happy they existed at all, and appreciate what is not yet gone.

Halloween 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of my little brother’s passing. This is always a time of reflection for me. I ponder where I have been and what I’ve become and not become. I take stock and am reminded of my good fortune to have not been born with a congential disease. For all of my life’s challenges, I am far more blessed than cursed. We are all more blessed than cursed.

As my years pass, I consider the various paths I have taken, places I’ve been and want to go, and who I’ve been and want to be. I think this is the gift my brother left for me. It’s a perspective and an honest assessment of value. It’s understanding that I’m lucky and I shouldn’t blow it. Though I’ve made some dubious choices, upon hindsight, my intentions have always been stand up. I can ask no more from myself or anyone else.

It is here that I draw some comparison between finding my “stolen” things in my son’s room and the loss of my brother. Both experiences shape gratitude for the things I have, the most important of which are my friends and family. They are the anchors to which my life is tethered. They are what is valuable. They are the life-giving heart beat which moves our blood and lifts the corners of our mouth into smiles. They are the “why?” of life and I am happy I have them. I’m lucky, and I know it, and feel rightly so. Though, I wouldn’t mind stumbling across that wig one of these days…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). He also runs the Waterland Arcade, located at 22306 Marine View Drive South. Dave extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, Dave desperately needs more friends – find him on Facebook here.

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