I am kicking ass and taking names!

30 09 2008

Remember the story about my Granddad when my Mom went to show off her new engagement ring?  Refresh your memory in an open letter to my nieces and nephews be they tulley or mcniece.  I am channeling him these days.  I feel surly and churlish – trying to get a job done because I won’t be free to feel what I want to feel until she isn’t chomping at the bit.  So, I am posting fair warning to stay out of my way.  If my concentration gets broken for any reason it is not going to be pretty. 

We started in on the famous bookshelf yesterday.  I had planned a strategy to help keep focus and minimize distraction.  First, I took three small bins, piling in anything and everything that wasn’t a book.  Oh the glorious bounty!  But alas, three bins did NOT do the trick – so it overflowed on to a chair and in plastic grocery bags and anything else that would serve a containerish purpose.  

Then with the mrs. at my side we started at the top and worked our way down.  Book by book she was allowed to condemn them to death or grant them a stay of execution.  Two shelves worth stay pretty much intact.

She has always been a reader.  Her favorites authors and series: not ones I’d care to read once let alone re-read them year after year as she does, but that doesn’t matter – they are hers…she wants to see them on the bookshelf, in her TV room, in her house.  Once her favs started lining up all organized and dusted – she could hardly contain herself.  She can’t stop staring at it.  She says it’s changed the whole look of the room.  

Throughout the evening while she worked her word puzzle, I started in on the nooks and crannies that had been the filing system for Billy’s newspaper clippings.  Like an archaeologist at a dig site in the Negev Desert – a pattern slowly formed before my eyes:

  • Obits for anyone who had attended Emerson High School, worked at Nipsco or lived on Gary’s East Side.  
  • Anything having to do with the Cubs.  
  • Members of their church-in name or photo-snipped and saved.  
  • A column that used to run in the paper written by a guy living in LA who had grown up in Gary back in the “good ol’ days”. 
  • And finally – a shared section.  Once she was done with her wordsearch…he’d have his turn to carefully scissor his way around the crossword puzzle. All of them were blank.
Today, a very Fallish day – cold blowing winds, big puffy gray clouds rolling in off the Lake, leaves coming down like what.  It’s time for the trees to be bare for awhile…to rest naked in the snow. They have their own kind of beauty. Just like this bookshelf.  Old is giving way to a new look.  Once this room is to her liking…she’ll be ready to hibernate and wait out the winter.
This is a very disconcerting process.  Everytime I throw away a pile of half bent paperclips, plastic milk bottle tops and screws to who-knows-what, I feel like I’m erasing a little bit more of him.  He doesn’t reside in stuff…he’s in my soul and if I never have a trinket that was his – no one can take him away.  My hands are open.  
I haven’t been able to write for a few days.  The very act of blogging is counterintuitive to censorship.  There is a lot more going on here than what meets the eye.  Meanwhile, there is a job to do and it’s going to get done…



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