When I was in Salt Lake City, my sister-in-law said if there was anything of Clint's that I wanted, I should ask. I hadn't expected that offer and didn't have a clue what to ask for, but I liked the idea of having something that was his.
I thought. His Book of Mormon. Well, it was meaningful for him and his family, but not really for me. His music. Hooked on Classics on LP. It screams Clint, but, nah. A fountain pen – maybe. He constantly had ink blobs all over his shirt pockets and desk top. But I just didn't want a pen. I'd probably lose it.
I put it out of my mind. I don't need mementos of my brother. I have my brain.
But my kids don't have a lot of memories of him. It would be nice for them to be able to look at something and think, "That was Uncle Clint's. He liked that."
I asked about his pennies. He always had a bucket of pennies that he played with. They made a clinky noise on the bed as he sifted through them, sorting them, playing a game only he knew the rules to. I didn't want all his pennies; that would be asking too much. Just one for each of us I could keep in a special spot. But Lee said the pennies were stolen when someone broke into their house. They built up the collection again, then cashed them in one year to buy Christmas presents. It made me sad that his pennies were gone.
I popped open the fridge, and there was a can of Coke. It was the only one in there, so I asked if I could drink it. As I sucked it down, I realized it was Clint's Coke. That was his drink, good Mormon that he was. Lee said she should have known something was wrong when he stopped drinking his Coke.
I asked for one of his Coke glasses. He had several. Sarah took one out of his bedroom window for me. Lee told her to get a different one. That one was a new one; I should have one of the old ones. I was glad.
Sarah handed me a glass. It has that traditional Coca-Cola shape – a wide bowl at the top, then skinny like a schooner. It says Coke on one side and Coca-Cola on the other. It was full of dust and dirt. And it was cracked. Just like Clint. It was perfect.
I wrapped it in my neighbor's Hawaiian shirt and my sweat pants and stuck it in my backpack.
Back home I cleaned it up and put it on my dresser. It was a bittersweet feeling putting it there. Knowing he's dead and that's my piece of him in my room. But life goes on.
We rearranged the furniture in the living room to put up the Christmas tree. Kelsey found a penny under the couch when we slid it toward the closet. I told her that was her tip for helping.
She said, "Maybe I can put it in Uncle Clint's Coke glass since you said he liked pennies."
I told her that was a good idea, that she was sweet to think of him.
"Be careful putting it in the glass," I said. "I don't want the glass to break."
"It's already full of cracks," she said, dropping the penny in. It made a lonely clink in the bottom.
We're filling Clint's Coke glass to the rim with pennies.