About the time I married my last wife, my dad gave me the Continental Can zippo that I had heard, smelled and lived with for my entire childhood.
It was the most awesome gift my father could have given me. This was HIM. This was his life. It was engraved with the logo of the company he had been working for when I was born. This was his approval. This was his acknowledgement that I was a responsible, full grown, adult male. It was his way of saying "Ya done good son, and I'm proud of ya."
I know it's just a fucking cigarette lighter. But it meant a lot to me. It was like he was giving me his life. His legacy.
So one day I make a trip to Independence Center. We're not talking Bannister Mall here, so I'm not as security conscious as I should have been. I leave my dad's lighter, a pack of Marlboro lights with maybe 3 cigarettes in the box sitting in the cup holder of my jeep. I didn't lock the jeep.
I come back out less than an hour later and my smokes and my dad's 50 year old zippo are gone.
My $700.00 Nikon 35mm camera is still in the jeep, but the 3 Marlboro lights in the flip top box next to the convenient silver zippo are history.
This wasn't some sophisticated shopping mall parking lot robbery ring at work.
This was just some broke-ass, lazy fucker with a nicotine fix that needed a smoke and saw an unguarded pack of cigs and a source of ignition.
I was fucking devastated! You have no idea how much that simple Zippo lighter meant to me. I knew I would never see it again.
Flash forward to Christmas, 1994.
My first Christmas as a father.
Galadriel Tanqueray Onassis was only 10 months old.
But in my Christmas stocking was a small, gift-wrapped box.
Inside the box was an engraved, silver, Zippo lighter.
The inscription said:
"My Dad's Zippo.
Love, Galadriel, 1995."
Yeah, I know. She was only 10 month's old.
But it's still a pretty fucking awesome gift, under the circumstances.
I'll cherish that Zippo for the rest of my life (despite the obvious provenance) and I will ensure that Galadriel inherits it when I pass on.
Although I hope she never, ever, uses it to light a cigarette.
And that, my friends, is the rest of the story.