‘Expeditions can be dangerous, with much excitement and often with some strange sort of enjoyment. I had hoped for all three of these qualities. We were going into territory that none had yet to explore…….’ This was the beginning of my great uncle Bert's journal entry. Found in a side pouch of an old black leather suitcase, a hole in one corner, scratched and scuffed from travel, the suitcase was still packed with his old khaki safari clothes. What else I couldn’t tell just yet. My family were clearing out the attic in his old house in Wyoming. All that was left was this old suitcase. It felt oddly heavy when I picked it up, ready to take it downstairs. I untied the frayed brown ribbon holding the journal shut. Opening the dusty wrinkled brown leather cover, I sat up against the wall under the attic’s only window, the pale sun my only reading light. The spidery handwriting on dry yellowed pages gave off a musty smell. Those words were the only words I could read clearly. My own expedition was about to begin. I heard my father call me.
“Come on, son. Get a move on. We’ve got to get all this into town before supper. Your mother is waiting.” I tucked the small journal into my vest pocket.
“Coming dad. I just have one thing left.” Closing up the suitcase, I brought it downstairs.
“Can I keep this one, dad? I want to go through it. It’s Great-Uncle Bert’s old traveling suitcase and it still has his things in it. I want to go through it later.”
“Sure thing, son.” Dad glanced at it then stopped and pushed his cap back. “ Wow! I had forgotten all about that suitcase. Can we go through it together? I remember some of Uncle Bert’s stories from those days.”
“That would be great!” My dad and I had not been talking all that much lately. We’d grown distant......and now? This could be a really interesting expedition. Going off to university in Arizona was not that far away. Getting close to dad again over an old suitcase full of Great-Uncle Bert’s travels would be perfect.
“The first rule of an expedition is that everyone should stick together.”
~ Tahir Shah, In Search of King Solomon’s Mines