4.22.2009

Memory. Hope.


Tools in the Garage, originally uploaded by redbaerd.

Aesthetically I always liked this cabinet. It hangs in the garage of the house that my in-laws built right after they were married. The house they paid off before getting pregnant with my wife. The house that sits on the top of the hill just down the lane from the original farmhouse where Grandma and Grandpa Erman lived.

My father-in-law Garry wanted to build a house on top of the big hill way *up* the lane (and just past the sightlines) from the original farmhouse, but Grandma and Grandpa Erman didn't approve and so the house was built where it was. The garage is attached to the house. And this cabinet is attached to the back wall of the garage, just before you go up the steps to the back porch which then leads into the house.

I've always loved the fading red paint, the small spread of shelves, the fact that the whole thing closes and turns into something more private and secret.

I also love that it's jumbled full of practical fasteners, adhesives, attachments and lubricants.

My wife's family has been gradually sorting through Garry's stuff since he died. Two barns, one basement, a garage and stuff throughout the house. Garry was a collector and a saver, and just slightly sentimental. His capacity for collecting was tempered by his intensely practical nature. He kept things because they might likely be used. He kept things that might be used by his family, his friends, his neighbors, the school district, the grain elevator or the church.

Touring these collections is as mundane as human life can be, but at the same time, like any museum artifact, each of these artifacts is shot through with magic.

Garry kept every one of these items because he suspected that it might allow him to help someone later, build something later or fix something later. Those items without a future hope enlivening them, were almost always links to a hopeful past - a coin collection, a train-set glued to a plywood board, a meticulously restored tractor.

A small old-fashioned buggy was meticulously restored so that grandchildren could ride in the old-fashioned section of the homecoming parade through downtown West Lafeyette, Ohio. The buggy seemed like both - memory and possibility.

And maybe in that light, the state of everything becomes more clear. We are all, this world is all, drenched in memory & radiating hope.

1 comment:

Suz said...

RECIPE please!!!!???