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Man is a bubble, and all the world is a storm. He kept it on a shelf in our family den, where for years when I was a kid it roared down at us -- unappeasably furious or so I always thought at being trapped up there on its high perch, with no company except some painted beer mugs and a set of purple glass swizzle sticks.
Then one day it got broken; I don't remember how. Probably my brother and I were having a skirmish and a shot went wild. I thought my father would be furious, but he didn't say a word. Carefully, almost reverently, he wrapped up the tiger and the shards of its shattered leg and put them away in a box in the basement.
A long time later, years after my father died, my mother and my wife found the box when they were clearing out some old family junk. My wife knows how much I like big cats and all other varieties of predators and raptors, and she painstakingly glued the tiger back together and gave it to me as a present.
It's roaring at me again as I write this: The tiger seems to fit right in, but I sometimes suspect it feels shanghaied. My father hadn't got it because he was fond of tigers or because he had any interest in nature.
He'd bought it in Korea, where he'd been a fighter pilot during the Korean war; his squadron had been called the Flying Tigers. My wife hadn't known that; I barely remembered it myself.
My father didn't like telling war stories. He'd accumulated fistfuls of medals over there, and he kept them stashed in an anonymous little plush case at the back of his closet, where they went unseen for decades. That was all part of the past, and he had no use for the past.
He used to wave off any question I asked about the world before I was born, irritatedly dismissing it as if all of that were self-evidently too shabby and quaint to interest a modern kid like me. What did he think about when he saw it? Did it remind him of the distance he'd traveled from that war, or of how incongruously bland and safe his life was now, now that he'd amassed a commercial-perfect suburban family in the depths of the American heartland?
I don't know, because he wouldn't say. Whatever patina of private associations the tiger had for him is gone for good.
If my wife hadn't rescued the tiger it would have been cut loose to make its own way in the world -- to languish in rummage-sale boxes and end up with new owners who'd never suspect how far it had wandered through the world to reach them.
But I have the feeling my father wouldn't have minded that; he never liked other people knowing his business.How to Write a Speech for School Elections. In this Article: Article Summary Crafting Your Message Structuring Your Speech Preparing for Delivery Sample Speeches Community Q&A If you’re running for office in school elections, delivering your candidate speech can be one of the most important — and nerve-wracking — parts of the whole process.
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