The hallway bookcase died today. Five shelves of books, bric-a-brac and various oddments that have no real home, stuck there by some passing person with more important missions on their mind. All of it came crashing abruptly down, wafting an enormous dust cloud, when I removed a book. It seems ‘Narnia’ was holding the whole thing up. A large job for an imaginary country. Considering the size of the pile now blocking my hallway, I would say the bookcase was seriously overworked. Of course, that is true of all bookcases, holders of so much thought. If you believe that thoughts have weight it is amazing that they (bookcases) stand at all. Some say kindles and nooks will render all bookcases obsolete. I think there is still something to be said for the feel and smell of a paper book. And I think it would be hard to read Hop on Pop to a 3 year old off of a kindle.

It’s going to take a bunch of mucking about if I am to fix the bookcase. It will involve errands and almost as much work as building a new one from scratch. Maybe I should build one. I never really did like that one. It was a bookcase ‘inherited’ from a friend who either moved on to better things or quit reading. From the day we moved it in it had a suspicious lean. That was ok for its hallway location. There is a niche there that would keep it from leaning too far. It was too short and had no legs, so it rested atop a black plastic utility self, also full of books, that raised it up a little over a foot. The cheap, crummy, plastic shelf is still standing. Maybe I should just go out and buy a new one, all finished, not even needing paint! Probably not, but for one brief moment it is tempting. But it would be wasteful, extravagant, and not ‘green’. However, it would be easy…and FAST! sigh..

For now, I get some boxes and start picking through the rubble. Broken pottery-trash. Hair brush-bathroom. Scissors-desk drawer. Toe fungus medicine-TOE FUNGUS MEDICINE?!?! sheesh.

Now I began looking at this stuff like an archeological dig, wondering what sort of impression of me and my family a stranger would get from this stuff. Here, besides the stuff previously named are, Pottery-vases, candlesticks, votive holders, bowls (I dated a potter for a time), several Jane Austen novels, a ‘Shrek’ mug, an entire shelf of ‘how-to’ books covering every craft activity ever conceived of in the history of humans, breath spray, numerous popular novels in paperback, old national geographics and readers digests, a ball of yarn, approximately one metric ton of gardening magazines, a tiara proclaiming the wearer “Mardi Gras Princess”, a bible, photos-endless photos, of my kids, the grands, my friends (living and dead). And one picture of what is, apparently, some passing stranger’s child, as I am sure I do not know them. Photos of my people infest every surface of my house. So do Mardi Gras beads. I think the only rational judgement one could make from this pile is that I am “not a neat person”. So, leave me here, sitting amid the detritus of life, wearing a straw visor that used to dangle from a candlestick, pausing to read a few words from “Crazy Salad”, reminiscing¬† with myself….


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