Sad and Silly Stuff


I sat at our sun-parched picnic table, soaked in the midday warmth, and enjoyed a light lunch that I’d carried out on a tray. It struck me how distinctly different a sunny, fall afternoon felt from those of spring. It smelled different; it sounded different.
I took a break from cleaning the rising damp and mildew that spoiled the bottoms of several pieces of furniture I hauled out on the lawn – a result of our basement water troubles. The table, surrounded by my plastic cleaning buckets and rags, was topped, besides my tray, with newly purchased cans of Minwax and Formby’s Lemon Oil Treatment. I felt certain that these remedies would fall short of my
I had discoverd a few, real heartbreaks damaged beyond saving: a box of photos and old postcards as well as an old record case, the bottom half of which dropped out as I lifted the leather-covered handle – it held heavy 78 rpm records. I had divided the fragile records with a padding of paper towels. Their highly absorbant quality now proved to be an unexpected detriment. Ahh, me! Who would have thunk it?
If I thought too hard about the records and all the years Mom had kept that case so well, I would cry. We kids had been charmed by the old scratchy tunes for as long as we can remember: Rosemary Clooney singing Lovely Weather for Ducks, The Mariners with Stars Are the Windows of Heaven, Glenn Miller’s infamous In the Mood, and an interesting little ditty called Japanese Sandman to name a few.
I knew what Dad would say, “They are only material things”, and I had to agree that all my stuff is not so important.
The flavor and feel of my tomato bisque soup combined with the beautiful day, and the comraderie of our dog and cat as they rubbed noses, consoled me. As the pets lay nearby, contented and oblivious to my troubles, the troubles dimmed.
I leafed through the latest Sunday comics appreciating the broad mixture from Disney – usually hokey and my least favorite, through the political flavors of B.C. and Doonesbury, to the wholesome humor of Family Circus. The Lockhorns was missing. The girls think the sarcastic satire of their marital dillemnas depicts Mark and me to a T. In retaliation, we agree that Zits captures the essence of the teen world of our girls. I laughed out loud. The funny papers, as my grandma called them, never let me down.
Following my lunch, I took one more look at the record case -its royal purple lining; the waterlogged, torn out bottom revealing a cross section of excellent construction not found in new items. I remembered it sitting beside my old portable record player (my first, a Christmas gift when I was 6) on the old blue carpet (that showed every bit of lint) in our living room. I thought of my mom and her records – how she loved music!
The case and the comics both went on the trash pile; I moved on, accepting life’s change with a sad smile.
After I clean them up, I’ll let you know if the old 78s still play.


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