Comments: Stealing.....

No.

You had me until the end when you said you gave it back to people who appreciated it more than the folks you stole it from. Sir, you don't know that. Sounds as if you're trying to rationalize a bit there.

If this story is true (not being mean, just saying) that could have been his only treasure, one that he held dear to his heart, just not to the outside world.

And as far as maybe you should rob more people, no, please don't.

Posted by Kath on November 2, 2009 05:09 AM

There was always some sort of old codger in the neighborhood who did not like kids running through his/her property - it made life interesting and scary for us kids. There was on old maid school teacher who lived next door to my grandmother. I would loved to have robbed her house after she died just to find all of the footballs and baseballs that she had kept over the years when our games strayed onto her property.

I love your story. Repentance and restitution should make your soul safe.

Posted by Lou on November 2, 2009 08:39 AM

Eric "Robin Hood" the Blade. Yes Sir.

Posted by Yabu on November 2, 2009 08:43 AM

Funny thing.
How one's sense of moral obligation endures far beyond the statute of limitations.

Posted by Tbird on November 2, 2009 07:00 PM

Kath, while I'm not condoning the actions of the (then) young Eric in conducting a B&E operation, the fact is that the man he stole those items from was no longer alive, thus not in a position to appreciate them at all... and the items were eventually repatriated within that man's family. It's a better fate than they otherwise would have suffered.

I agree with Lou: Repentance and restitution cover the moral debt incurred. I, as a judge, could decree no better.

And, knowing Eric perhaps a bit better than you do, I will say that, as an adult, he has a moral sense as keen as that of anyone I know.

May all of us be able to come to terms with the peccadilloes of our youth with such grace.

Posted by Elisson on November 2, 2009 09:45 PM

.... thanks, Steve...... I have always looked back on that story with great ease of thought........ it always comforted me...... and it never seemed like a bad thing at all.......

..... sometimes perhaps our bad things end up being good?....... who knows.....

Posted by Eric on November 2, 2009 09:53 PM

Nothing more liberating than "repentance and restitution"...i can't wait to see Nicole Kee sometime, so i can give her back the nickel i took from her off Mrs. Westerfield's desk in third grade...33 years ago.

Posted by The Piper on November 2, 2009 09:56 PM

Well,it's nice of Mr.Elisson to come to your defense, I guess.

Just remember when he stole the items, Mr. Eilsson, he had NO intention of returning them whatsoever.

What's done is done. Glossing it over later -- with lovely grace or not -- by taking the moral high ground and asking forgiveness is a wonderful thing.

But it still happened, and it was still wrong. That's why he did his best to "put it right". Just because someone says gosh, golly, gee, ma'am, I'm ever so sorry -- doesn't take away the fact a wrong was done in the first place.

No one is perfect and we all -- or at least I do -- have things that we wish we could change. Saying sorry and trying to fix it is good. But praise and a pat on the back, I disagree with.

Posted by Kath on November 3, 2009 06:19 PM

Sometimes Eric I think we do things out of our character as if some strange force cancels out all reasoning. In some weird Karmatic way, sometimes this action might lead to an epiphany, or as in your case it might have a secondary motive, one that defines all reason at the time of the act in question. It seems that this is the case here.

Yes, you stole after breaking into a dead man's house. But you were able to later justify this move by placing the stolen items into a place that they needed to be, but never would have been put there, had you not been guided by that strange force.

I often tell my daughter that good things happen to good people. I'm glad that this worked out for you, and everybody in the end. I do think you deserve praise and a pat on the back... I can't help but wonder if this old man wished he could have saved and shared these treasures with his family, but was just cast too far out to do so.

Posted by Gooseneck on November 3, 2009 08:10 PM

Nice post, sir. All ramifications and justifications, moral and philosophic, aside...this was a nicely written piece. I pat you on the back for that.

And as for those vaulted ramifications, I fall back some on my libertarian sensibilities to say that it is each his own decision to decide right and wrong, and no once else's (with a tip of the cap to God, Allah, Odin, Vishnu, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and "the American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, of course).

Me? I find myself wandering the "world works in mysterious ways," paths more and more, lately. Coincidences, small-town synchronicities and the fact that it is, indeed, a small, small world are things of no small wonder to yours, truly.

This is maybe my favorite thing you've ever put up on this blogamathing, sir.

Posted by Tommy on November 3, 2009 10:23 PM

Kath- In the habit of placing judgement? I bet you get an awfully nice view from that Ivory Tower. Don't hurt yourself when you fall.

Posted by Bou on November 3, 2009 10:33 PM

heh... yay, Bou!

Posted by Jean on November 3, 2009 11:40 PM

Bou and Jean, Sorry if I offended you over Eric's post. I said we all have things we wish we hadn't done. This struck a nerve with me, that's all.

I didn't think I was mean when I expressed my opinion. Guess you've never thought someone was wrong.

Again, sorry if you were offended by my thoughts and feelings.

Posted by Kath on November 4, 2009 04:55 AM

It takes a lot to offend me. Pissing me off is another matter.

I read your first comment and saw Elisson responded. I also noted that Eric thanked him. But it didn't stop there and you had to leave another comment that landed on the side of slightly snotty.

Let me be clear. We do this for free. We put ourselves out there for others to read. Sometimes we embellish, sometimes we leave things out, sometimes we add a slant that is different for whatever mood we happen to be in. There are blogs out there that come across as real and are completely fictious.

And then there are blogs like Eric's. Eric is one of the few of us out there that is a true writer. He has a gift and we're blessed to benefit from it... for free.

You've made this assumption that he stole it with no intent to give it back. Perhaps. But knowing Eric the way Elisson does and as I've gotten to know him, I suspect that's not the case. Knowing the stories of his youth, the errors he has made, underlying themes of remorse and redemption come into play. I strongly suspect that when Eric committed the act he did, within days he was remorseful but unsure how to correct it. Youth tends to make us cowards. As he aged, he made it right. With maturity, we hope in most, comes the ability to redeem ourselves... try to correct what we were unable to correct due to the immaturity of our youth. Note his sentence, 'I always felt guilty knowing I had those letters in my closet...'

You assume the worst. I'm assuming the best. Knowing Eric the way we do, most of his readers probably fall along with me.

Posted by Bou on November 4, 2009 09:12 AM

Eric, it's been awhile, was only prompted to return as per Tommy's recommendation.

This is an incredible story. Kath, exactly WHO wedged the stick up YOUR ass? Sure, breaking and entering into anyone's home is against most of our moral codes.

But don't you realize that God moves in mysterious ways? Obviously there was a reason to somehow preserve these memories, that drove an otherwise upstanding boy to enter that domicile and whisk these artifacts away.

I don't think this is going to somehow encourage a massive larceny outbreak. And, if it did, probably the filthy little miscreants were just looking for a good excuse, anyway.

Posted by Sloth on November 4, 2009 10:40 AM

I guess I have an advantage of position by coming in at the end of a string of comments. In a nutshell, I see it like this- B&E and theft are always wrong, no matter what is eventually done with the purloined contents.

They say that Lady Justice is blind, but there exists in most courts the idea that it not be meted out equally to children and adults in the hopes that the guilty child learns more from the guilt than the punishment. Any misdeeds done as a child aren't carried forward into their adult record to allow for a second chance. Some "children" grow up too quickly and abuse this protection because they feel no guilt. These ones, IMHO, deserve some kind of "three strikes" clause before being treated as an adult. Eric, I hardly know you, but have been reading you for ages and know a few fine folks who HAVE met you. I personally think you're in the category of those who've learned from their few youthful misdeeds and have earned their legal tabula rasa upon adulthood.

To throw your youthful misdeeds out to the blogosphere? Gutsy, but also an indication that you see it as a youthful learning experience and a good yarn to share with "friends" of one distance or another. I expect that most see it this way as well.

To this effect may I offer this toast? May the pleasures of the evening bear the reflections of the morning. Also, here's to more friends, and less need of them!

Posted by G on November 4, 2009 07:07 PM

Eric,
What a great story. To realize that you had in your possession the only remains of the Blair home. And what a historical treasure it was.

I love the way you wrote about it too. You have the heart of a poet, Sir.

Posted by Jerry in Indiana on November 4, 2009 11:36 PM

Great post! As a child I lived near some woods, walked past returning home from school in Blountville, Tn. At a close by cemetary, an old man used to dig up old artifacts, bottles, jewelry, etc, and often displayed them on the homemade rough built porch of his deteriorating airstream trailer. It was a grim and spooky sight at best.

He had a beautiful but tormented and angry german shepard named Smokie, chained prisoner and exposed constantly to the elements.., left alone at his doorstep. The dog would snarl, and go into death mode at the near sight of a human being.

Then one day I was going home and heard the dog whimpering. Terrified, I went to investigate only to find the poor animal had slipped off the icy porch, and was being hung by the chain! I quickly covered his face with my jacket to prevent being bitten, and scooped up the animal and sat her back on the porch.

Retrieving my jacket, the dog now licking me ear to ear, playing and giving me her paw, I felt sorry for her. I couldn't bear the thought of a repeat of the incident so I decided to set her free. She followed me, but knowing I couldn't keep her, my friends and I cared for her at our homemade clubhouse in the woods for several weeks.

To get back at the old man for being mean to the dog, we stole all the "artifacts" on his porch and threw away the chain. Finally, the old man stopped me one day, stating he'd seen what happened, begging to have the dog back. He said we could keep the stuff and he wouldn't tell our parents as long as we agreed to take Smokie for walks and play toss with her.

Smokie had belonged to his recently departed wife. Insurance, and medical bills had claimed thier home.., the dog, the trailer, and an old beat up truck was all he had left. All 3 of thier children had died from a fatal fire. Anyhow, the old man died a year later, and my friend and his little brother took Smokie for a family pet. She went on to have 3 litters of pups!

This is actually the first I've ever told anyone about this, feels good. Like you said Eric, sometimes bad things work out good. Good story, as yours always are.

Posted by snottydog on November 6, 2009 02:13 PM