August 15, 2011

Pausing a Moment

Views from a train: Winter sloughs, Klamath Falls, OR. 2007.

The Sidebar
Himself: Traumatic day: Packaged and sent off all the trains. Went through more boxes in the garage. Found someone new to talk to at the meeting.

Herself: Followed G around caretakingly. Sometimes I aught to be shot. This morning: All the yearly blood work and a new fecal ocult test. Two down and two to go.

WW foods for the day: Breakfast and lunch were the usual plus a banana. Dinner: 6” long sub, 1 chocolate chip cookie, chips, and a slice of cake at the meeting. I’m getting better at making sheet cakes….at last. offers the latest news from Japan on days he isn’t fighting his local flora and fauna.

Letting go of the past is often hard.

There’s a lovely brass bowl downstairs in a box. Chased and decorated; I’ve always loved it. When I was a kid, it was the basement ashtray. Mother had three old platform rockers and a California Spanish style tiled table down there in front of a big black and white TV. The TV was on my old toy box…a giant officer’s sea chest, and the bowl was on the table. It was a dirty smelly old thing and rarely washed.

Today, down in our garage, the bowl sits in a to-be-saved box. Perhaps I should put it in the box for the Discovery shop. One of G’s brass bowls from India is in that box. It’s hard to give up your past tho…even if it was used as an ashtray.

G didn’t smoothly get rid of his trains. When I saw the mold on the drafting table Borko, I knew my work surface was a gonner. I’ll never forget having it in the windows of the big house and being able to see the world pass below me from my aerie. I’ll really miss the thought of having that wonderful work surface handy even though I haven’t used it in years. Other things I let go with less panache.

Deep in an obscure box, I found mother’s slide rule with its leather cover. No one knows how to use a slide rule any more not even my nephew the robotics designer. The cover smells. It smells beyond rotten. The smell pervades all the garage and has even begun seeping up the back stairs. Mother wrote her name on that cover. In her handwriting.

There are moments that give you pause.


  1. I have an old slide rule. That is what I used before the hand held calculator came around. Chuck it out. Smelly things only haunt us. The table can be refinished can't it? Dianne

  2. difficult in the moment that we move.

  3. I still know how to use a slide rule for the few tasks I needed (once out of college math and physics).

    Mostly I used it for instant batting averages, but I don't follow baseball any more. And I have since learned how to use Excel, which does it all so much better. 8-)

  4. I think such mementos are truly important as they are landmarks of how far we've come on life's rocky road.

  5. When I returned to my parents' house after 7 years abroad, I found a lot of personal stuff I had saved in a hope chest in the bedroom. I could not understand why I had kept them. Out to the dump they all went. And guess what, I don't miss them.

  6. It never ceases to amaze me how things become a permanent part of our retired lives even though they are faded, broken, no longer used. Yet they hold the key that jars the precious memories. Just a smell or flash of light and we are taken back decades.

  7. Anything of Mum's I keep - unless it has an odour.


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