He puts on his grandfather’s black Peterbilt jacket that we’ve seen him wear a thousand times. He puts on an old trucker cap of his and then tops it off with a pair of Blueblockers that we found still new in the box. We all laughed. Because the grandfather would have laughed too, had he been still alive.
All around us are boxes of lives once lived. Thoughts once had. Plans planned out on how she would put those cloth scraps together to make just the right quilt pattern for her grandchildren, had she been still alive.
Recently we ‘took down’ my in-laws house after his passing away at 85 years old. She passed a few years before. All in all, it was a good ride for them.
Just a few years ago, my brothers and sister and I took down our old home place. Like my in-laws, it was stuff full of good ole southern hopes and dreams and plans all attached to stuff; to physical things left behind. My mother is still alive and in long-term care. So what we didn’t take to our homes, sits in storage. Because at any given moment, our mother is apt to want that bright red housecoat that she proudly wore with her bright red lipstick and her beehive hairdo.
And, she’ll get it rightly fetched from storage.
All of these kept physical things give a sharp contrast to today’s, mostly younger but not totally, generation of ‘minimalists’. And I feel sorry for these people.
Now there are extremes. My mother had breadsacks filled with old breadsacks. That’s called hoarding. But more than once I had to put those breadsacks over my feet as a kid when it snowed (back when it really snowed) so my feet would stay dry inside of my boots. Mother had a mortal fear that my wittle feets would get wet.
But now, my heart feels really bad for these minimalists because I don’t get what they ‘do’ with their lives? They don’t want things. They don’t want something they haven’t used in the past x months. I still work in the yard in some snazzy shorts I bought in the mid-80’s.
Stop laughing, they have lots of pockets.
Do these new age purists just sit in silence in a barren room and meditate on…what? What do they think about without their granny’s milk glass dishes around them?
And for Pete’s sake, do they EVEN have a Bible to keep funeral home memorial cards and handwritten recipes in?
When they’re old, what will they hand down to their children? They gave all of their records and 8 tracks away when they were younger and miserably minimalist. How will anyone know that they once liked Kool And The Gang??
I reckon it’s just people’s preferences. Yes, we can get too much junk in our grandma’s trunk. We can get one too many Coke collectibles or Tweety Bird cookie jars.
However, I enjoy looking at my grandparent’s (that I never knew) pie safe that now stands in our sunroom. They started their home with it in the late 1920’s. What did they think about when they used it? Pie plans? Plans to hand it down?
I like to open the black VW bug Avon bottle that came from my in-law’s house and smell ‘Wild Country’ again.
I love that my granddaughter can now take a nap at her Mamaw and Petaw’s house in the same baby bed that her mother slept in when she was a baby.
I still use the hammer that my dad let me borrow for some project and I like my 45-year-old cactus plant that is still alive and doing well.
I like seeing my nephew trying to duplicate the man that he loved and loved him back.
These old physical things keep me grounded not in the past but they are an affirmation of where I came from; from my life before wifi, cellphones and tight schedules.
They remind me that life is a good and a quick thing that needs to be filled with passions.
So, here’s to the other Maximumists out there that like your old stuff! Enjoy that 1970s still-working Coke clock from the Princess theater in Lexington.
To you like-minded-stuff-keeping-fellows, I offer you up a toast in a coffee mug that I kept from the first dish set we bought together when we wed in 1983.
And to the minimalists sitting in bare rooms painted Ikea gray and meditating on how your life is now ‘cleaner’……
sorry, but you can’t have my starfish nightlight that guarded me at night when I was a little boy and now sits on my rolltop desk watching over me as I type this blog.
That’s the best that I can tell about it,