I was the worst in writing thank you notes after Christmas. I still am pretty bad at remembering those who have done me favors. Today, walking through a bookstore in Sandakan, Sabah (island of Borneo), Malaysia I came across a travel go set. It reminds me of two gifts I received long ago.
Peter, Thanks for the Boomerang
My oldest brother, Peter, gave me a boomerang. I can’t remember the year but I suppose he was at the University of Minnesota. I could not wait until a mild day in Spring, I had to try it out right away. The wind was strong, I wasn’t sure how to hold it. After a few overhand attempts, I tried a horizontal throw. Zoom, off it went high up and around it came back from the sky. That was exciting. I tried again. Zoom. Up it went, into the wind carried high and slammed back down into the icy snow. Crack. I know my brother felt bad that his gift only lasted a few times. That Spring I read more and ordered another boomerang using the address on the package. With that, I mastered the overhand throw. By the time I broke it, I was looking for a larger, more sturdy one. Over the years, I owned five or six more. Two were bought from an Aborigine in Australia. At one point, my boomerangs were returning to my feet every time. Sometimes I could grab them out of the air. I kept one on my basement desk next to the Lionel train set my mother saved. Daughter and I practiced some days when we could not fly kites.
George, Thanks for the Go Set
The Christmas my brother came back from serving in Viet Nam by way of Japan, he brought me a game of go. In the small town of Windom, there were no books on such an obscure subject. I only had the small manual that came with the game. I acquired Go and Go-Moku: The Oriental Board Games by Edward Lasker maybe from a bookstore in Minneapolis. I have looked through all my saved photos and cannot find one that shows the books I collected on Go. (Half Price books bought the ones from Ishi Press as they are not common in the U.S.) Of saved photos, only one shows a thin tome lying horizontal. But I did find a photo of the business card for the Takadanobaba Go Club.
The banner shows the three of us. They let me ride in front of the toboggan (so I wouldn’t fall off). George behind me steering. Peter handling braking in the back.
There have been many thoughtful gifts, and I thank you all for your kindness. I hope to send you a thank you note, but it seems I’m still catching up on fifty years of laziness.