Long-Term Relationship

Every so often, Man finds a companion from which he quickly realizes he will never depart. Be it the cute high school sweetheart, a loyal dog, or a well-worn pair of jeans, Man has a propensity to stick with something that’s true and something that he feels completes him.

There are, no doubt, several such objects of affection in my life. I met my best friend about five and half years ago in a freshman Bible study at Penn State. I still drive the car I bought when I was 16, a 1992 Camaro Z/28, over eight years later. I met my wife when we wound up with identical schedules in eighth grade, just over 11 years ago. But longer than any of these loves, one item has been an object of my affection for what is now pushing two decades.

My copy of the 1991 Fleer #237 base card.

1991 Fleer #237 Emmitt Smith
My first true (collecting) love

The details of our first date are a bit sketchy in my mind after all these years, but there is no doubt it was love at first sight. I imagine this card came into my collection via a trade with one of my brothers. All three of us bought packs of baseball, football, and basketball cards with birthday money and any other funds we happened to obtain. I never had any luck pulling my favorite players, so my oldest brother usually helped me out. I always treasured our relationship (I’m talking about the card again, although I suppose my brother is alright, too) and she was one of the first cards I slipped into a penny sleeve and toploader once I got into that sort of thing. When I bought my first Beckett Football Monthly, there is little doubt she was one of the first numbers I looked up.

Over the years, there have been many other cards that have come into my life (I currently have 656 Emmitts cateloged on Flickr, although I still haven’t gotten around to scanning and uploading my National Card Show loot), yet she has always had a special place in my heart. Sure, time hasn’t been kind to her looks, what with the scuffed surface and dinged corners, but she is still a beaut in my eyes. Hell, even after seeing newer and sexier cards, she’s still got a fine back side, if you know what I mean.

1991 Fleer #237 Emmitt Smith back
Nice ass, Ms. 1991 Fleer #237

When I first got into writing love letters about cards (a.k.a. when I started this blog), she was the first I ever featured. When I get burned on buying a young high-end box and pull nothing but plain swatches of offensive linemen, I know I can always run back to her for comfort, reminding me of how simple life used to be. I admit, I have a bad habit of looking at other cards online, longing to hold them in my hands, but it’s her that I always return to. She has never left my favorites box and I know she’ll always have a place there.

So you can have your fancy auto patches, Mr. Case Breaker. And you can run wild with all your short prints, Mr. Set Collator. But as for me, I’m sticking my 1991 Fleer #237. My first true (collecting) love. My long-term relationship.

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