My dad was a huge collector. He collected pretty much everything: coins, foreign money, unique beer bottles, state quarters, jazz CDS, interesting containers and many more. However, his all time favorite was his stamp collection.
He had hundreds and hundreds of them and sadly now my sister and I own them all. We still have yet to decide what to do with them all. My dad took such pleasure in searching for stamps, removing the sticky paper from them (this was a long detailed process involving tubs of water and using tweezers, he would delicately remove the sticky film from the stamps), organizing them into albums labeled by their country of origin, and of course trading and purchasing them. Since we lived overseas most of my life, my dad had stamps from all over the world. It's seriously quite the international collection.
I've never seen someone take such pride in their collection as my dad did with his stamp collection. When I close my eyes, I can see him sitting at his card table in front of the TV "playing with his stamps" as we liked to call it. The table is covered with a few of those albums and using tweezers, he is putting a few stamps in their proper homes in these albums. He looks up occasionally to check out what's on the TV and take a sip of his Diet Dr. Pepper. But, besides that, he is focused on the job at hand. He would spend hours sitting like this. This was certainly one way my dad relaxed in the summers.
His collection was on our mind so much that whenever any of us saw a stamp, we had to give it to him, even if that meant tearing it off a perfectly good postcard. He had me doing that for him even after I graduated high school and lived on my own at college. I couldn't help myself, I had piles all over my apartment of stamps to give to him later. Then, anytime a friend of mine would go to a new country that my dad had never been to, they would have to stop by the post office to get a few stamps for him. We were all constantly helping feed his stamp collection. I'm not complaining though. It was a way for me to be apart of it and that was fun for me.
I still think about ripping the stamp off mail I receive but catch myself before I actually do it. Stamps will always hold a special place in my heart and I hope that someone in my future family will pick up the hobby in honor of my dad. : )