Son, One Day All This Will Be Yours

by Chris Huntington

There are a few objects that mean a lot to me. When I was seven, my father bought me a tiny metal dinosaur at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. This Dimetrodon looked like it was made of pennies, though I admit I sometimes confuse copper and bronze; I’ve never had an Olympic medal. That day at the museum I felt very loved, like a medal-winner, like I might live forever in a way that dinosaurs never did. My father was about to lose his job or maybe he already had. That summer, we moved to Indiana where we stayed with my grandparents and could hear frogs at night, which was new. I had never seen a frog, so my father gave me three in a jar with holes in the lid. He said I couldn’t keep them in the jar long or they would die. The next day, we let them go, but then I burst into tears and my father went to his knees, chasing them in the grass. The next day, we let them go for good. In college, I gave my bronze dinosaur to a girl I loved. We broke up anyway. Years later, I went to visit her in Knoxville and saw my dinosaur, brown like henna, above the sink. They say Muhammad Ali threw his Olympic medal into the Ohio River. Sometimes I feel we can’t keep anything we love, but we don’t need to.

Chris Huntington’s novel Mike Tyson Slept Here was published in 2011, but his writing has also appeared in The New York Times and other places. More information can be found at chrishuntingtononline.com.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Son, One Day All This Will Be Yours”?

    The Washington Post Magazine publishes a regular column called “Mine.”

    It’s simply a photo and description of an object someone loves. I love that we describe ownership with the same word we use for a dangerous tunnel into the earth. I was shaken by the scene in the film version of Germinal when the family members take turns bathing in front of each other, having only one basin of water. They come out of the coal mine equally black and then transform into statues of individual suffering. I started this piece after reading the Washington Post but realized I could only write the opposite of what they wanted. I could only describe something unphotographable because everything I loved was equally lost, which was both a comfort and a struggle, really. I will dig a mine six feet deep and emerge dark as a shadow or maybe not.

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