Saturday, July 3, 2010

Echoes of the Past

Sounds like a heavy subject, doesn't it? But it's not my past that seems heavy today. No, it's the past of the dead woman whose home I went to at eight o'clock this morning for a sale of her life's possessions.

God, it was depressing as hell. She had a few nice pieces of furniture (I loved an enamel topped kitchen table, but resisted), many kitchen things, several sets of china and a lifetime collection of strange odds and ends that included the most disturbing clown painting I've ever seen in my life. And that's saying something because I HATE CLOWNS.

I ended up buying a wicker rocking chair that will live on my parents' front porch, a Mexican silver necklace (she traveled!) and a $3 bunch of aluminum kitchen tools that includes a butter pat cutter, the coolest thing I've seen in a long time, probably from the 1940's or 1950's when butter wasn't a National Villain (it still isn't in my house).

But as I was walking through her rooms that had plywood on the floors and a distinct air of despair, I grew sadder and sadder. Clearly, this was a woman who loved to entertain because she had three sets of china, a large number of serving pieces and pots and pans and lots of other hostess-y things. And this was just what the family left to sell - the good stuff had already been picked over and allotted to members of the family.

I'm starting to be reminded lately that life has an end date. I've lost my grandparents and assorted friends, but I think I viewed life with a very cavalier point of view through my 30's. Now that I'm about to turn 42 (in 10 days!!), I find myself reflecting more and more on how we live our lives, the things we find important, the things we collect and how we leave this life. I spent a weekend not long ago worrying about dying alone, being alone, dying a Spinster with no one to witness my demise except my beloved pets.

I imagine my nephews, all grown up, sorting through my folk art collection, deciding who will take the painting of the purple and green cat, who will take the signed Jazz Fest poster from 1995 that's already worth $1,000, and what will become of all the other bright and cheerful works of art that I've collected over the last twenty years.

Frankly, it depresses the shit out of me.

But I don't often allow myself to wallow in such self-pity. I have a full life with family that I adore and friends who I would literally bleed for. In my 42nd year, I've finally had an epiphany about what I want to do with this life. What I want my "legacy" to be (which sounds so pompous it makes me want to throw up in my mouth (LB!)).

Henceforth (what a word!), I want to spend as much time as possible with my parents and my brother and his family. I want to spend time with my friends. I want to travel to the ends of the earth, experiencing new cultures and people. I want to eat great food, real food, not processed weird food. I want to write. I want people to read what I write. I want to make them laugh.

I don't want to be in the box (see previous post - Long Time. No Blog.).

And I really hope to divest myself of most of my crap before I die. I hate to think about people digging through my collection of junk, feeling sad or saying awful things about them. Maybe they'll like my cobalt glasses, the tea cups that Sylvia gave me (our neighbor when I was a little girl), the Eiffel Tower collection that has grown from statues to lamp shades to paintings. Guess it's time I stopped that collection.

Any way, not to be too morbid, but today made me sad. I'll get happy again, but it made me pause and think about life. It's funny when that happens.

But enough about all that crap. I'm off to the fireworks on the riverfront in Darien, Georgia w/ my friend Billy.

Happy 4th, Everyone!!

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