Sluice Box of Life

Hey Kids,

I’ve been at my job for nearly 25 years now. In those 25 years, I’ve accumulated a desk full of papers, gizmos, and trinkets. I decided it was time to empty some of those items. Mostly because my desk is full and I might be there for a few more years.

Within the reaches of the drawers, I found my weight in mystery keys, a bible’s worth of pages of old notes and scribbles, and two decades of memories from past employees.

I threw out piles of worthless Coke caps that I never got to enter the codes for some grand prizes never realized. There was a mountain of business cards from companies and people with which a few we did business- most we did not.

A few ID badges had been left behind. I read the names and looked at the pictures of their past owners. I recalled their stories. A small number of them left due to immigration issues. Others moved on to different opportunities- some have stayed in touch, most others have not. I found a letter written to me by an employee who passed last year. It was written during a trying time in her life and she had wanted to thank me for my support during that time. It meant a lot to me then, but even more now.

My runner-up find was a voucher assigned to me on my very first day with the University. I was to exchange it for an ID card within my first few weeks of employment. I never did, but got an ID card anyway. I don’t know why that amuses me, but it does every time I see it. Apparently, I rebelled against the rules even way back then.

The grand prize find was a copy of my oldest son’s fishing license. It is the most valuable because it has his signature on it, something he did with his own hand and I own it. I miss him and it makes me feel closer to him.

Life marches forward and these treasures of sluicememories get caught on the riffles of time, much like gold in a sluice box. And like the largest nuggets in the sluice box, they can disappear under the mundane black sands and irrelevant gravels of life and disappear out of sight, and out of mind. Today reminds me to not fill up on the trivial but to unbury and cherish those moments and people that are important today, and not when I clean out my desk every 25 years.


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