In every move — and this one will be an epic move, across state lines always is — there are tales that become engraved in an individual’s and a family’s memory. Forever.
Sometimes they’ll be told in a “be grateful you weren’t there way” — you know, be glad you aren’t covered in chicken poo! — sometimes they’re told in a funny way — remember the time we had two u-hauls and three cars break while going from Charlotte to NC? Boy that was a night! “And then, when the wheel feel off” and everyone laughs. And sometimes they’re told in an epic way, and younger members of the family gaze in wonder at the heroes of the tale and regret they weren’t there. In our family this usually involves “And we painted the entire 2k sq feet house attic ceiling to basement floor in 24 hours. We were hallucinating by the time we finished, but by gum it was done.” (And in our family we would add, “and that’s when we found Marshall, who was only eight at the time, had painted the sidewalk in a checkerboard pattern. It made me cry, because it meant I had to come in next day to apply industrial cleaner and hose it off, but he was so proud….”)
And sometimes…. Sometimes those stories become horror tales passed generation to generation, to curdle the blood of those yet unborn when the events occurred.
So, first I’m going to tell you the tale of yesterday’s doings in that way. Then some passing commentary and head scratching.
Sit back my children, and listen to the tale of the U-haul of the damned, or perhaps The Flying Dutch U-Haul.
It was a smoky Colorado Summer, when a young man set out to rent a u-haul, in order to haul about half a house’s worth of furniture to the charity store. Mostly because this was good, solid furniture, and his parents remembered being dirt poor newly weds whose furniture was made of spit, snot, and discarded cardboard (but mom put a nice veneer on it.)
To be fair, there was a curse on the whole thing already. If only big blue hadn’t died, these runs would have been made with no problem at all, since the carvenous maw of the Expedition could fit the furniture for an entire one bedroom apartment.
However, Old Blue died suddenly and horribly just before the cursed lockdowns of two-oh.
It should be said the young man had done this before, many times, for his own moves. And he had no reason to expect anything to go awry.
The u-haul was rented with all possible expediency, no signs were given of the dread fate to come, and the young man — with hired help, since his parents were busy and also tired — filled it to the rafters, half to donate and half to run to the dumpster.
Now we do not know if it was some curse laid on him. Some say he blasphemed the dread Fauci’s name, and others that being asthmatic he refused to wear a mask, but the truth is the gods of postmodern intervened at this point, to make the whole thing sillier and sillier.
At the first charity store, they took the falling-apart-painted white pressboard shelves earmarked for the dumpster. Also the sofas which were in bad shape when his parents got them (for free.) But they refused the good, solid wood armoire, and the beautiful cherry china cabinet (too large to take to another state.)
Our young man scratched his head and pressed on.
In the next five hours, he went to five cities, and countless charity stores, but not one would take the good wood furniture.
The last he hit said they’d have taken it, had he but come earlier.
Bewildered, late for returning the u-haul, the young man made for home, where his father and mother helped unload, and contracted a trash service to come and remove the good furniture that no one wanted.
Then his father joined him to return the u-haul while his mother saved what she could from the wreckage.
But upon returning the dread u-haul, they found every road blocked — Greek Choir — You couldn’t get there from here.
Legend has it they roam still, the wilds of Colorado, from pass to peak, and there is no one that will take the u-haul. There is no port for these lost souls.
IN TRUTH: they finally made it home at 11:30 and we had dinner in the only still open place in the neighborhood. For the second time in my life, I had the situation of being hungry but too tired to eat.
There is a story in Don Camillo of vandals cutting down vines, and Don Camillo, whose father was a vineyard owner grieving for the cut vines.
My grandfather was a carpenter. I know wood, and have what my husband describes as an unnatural fascination with “good wood furniture.” The other day I saw an original, antique Duncan phyfe (I know, because I refinished one once, by hand.) someone was selling, painted white and black, and my heart recoiled at the beautiful, now-extinct red mahogany covered up that way. (Also white is a bitch to get off wood. If you do that, do a favor to your grandkids who will want to remove the paint, and give it a coat of shellac underneath. Otherwise it gets in the pores. I have a tiny, gorgeous, carved-cherry colonial desk, from which even a lot of work never removed the green paint in the pores.)
Imagine how I feel about solid wood, well built armoire and cabinet being taken by a company that literally reduces the to sawdust for transport….
The worst part: If I spray-painted them black or white, the stores would have eaten them with a spoon. I just didn’t have the time.
Yes, I know, tastes and fads. I know. But for a long time the only good thing about the current era is that each year took us further from the seventies.
And now the seventies are rearing their gloomy head, with dark finishes everywhere, and heavy, ridiculous, depressing browns, greys and blacks all over everything.
And I know the tide will turn again, but meanwhile, how many great pieces are destroyed forever.
Never mind me, I just grieve as my grandfather would, who was a carpenter.
Meanwhile we must cut down on furniture, and frankly on everything and lighten our load. One of the things I’ve cut back drastically on is hobby materials and the like.
It’s become very clear to me, over these very busy days, that what I need to do is write, finish, publish, repeat.
Oh, I’ll probably still paint gourds and make flowers and stuff from discarded (not by me, discarded/discarded, as in rescued from a dumpster) books. On the weekend. To relax.
But those days are at least two months in the future.
For now, I’m going to discard some more, and pack some more.
And polish up my tale of the U-Haul of the damned to curdle the grandkids blood (should I have bio grandkids.) I might invent an uncle they never had, so that I can say he’s still driving from town to town in Colorado, with the back of the U-haul full of furniture no one will take.