So I realized that having a little blog series on “Telling Stories” is somewhat strange since pretty much everything I do here is tell stories. Hmm.
Well, I do like to tell ’em.
Something else I like to do is make them up.
For example, when I’m on my hands and knees scrubbing our floor, and I find a dozen straight pins in one of the rooms, some of them down behind the quarter-round, I begin to wonder if our house’s previous owner was a seamstress of some sort. Maybe she was. Maybe that was her sewing room.
Or when the cabinets around the stove are found to be greasy, goopy, and sticky, I conjure up images of pan-fried food. What was cooked here that could have splashed up that high?
Or when I get a book out of the library and the strangest things are underlined, or have a check-mark beside them, or someone is having an argument with the author in the margins. I can come up with a great story for that, let me tell you.
What I’m not talking about here is the “what were they thinking?” sort of questions as you peel off ugly wallpaper, take down hideous window treatments, or, even, tear out a toilet that is four inches from the tub. Though sometimes I make up stories in these instances, too, it’s not really what I’m talking about.
This is more what I’m saying. Towards the middle of our backyard in Texas was a section of land where the grass just wouldn’t quite grow right, so J dug at it a bit to explore what was going on. As he began to excavate, the project got bigger and bigger and a bit scarier, I must admit, as he pulled garbage bags full of trash, cement, carpet, and other crazy stuff out of the ground. We later learned that the previous owner had a rather extensive pond in the backyard, including a little bridge over top of it, and someone along the way had just filled it in with trash and tried (unsuccessfully) to cover it up with a few inches of dirt and poorly tossed grass seed.
The story that I’d made up, being a CSI fan at the time, was much more frightening than the mere filled-in-pond version that ended up being the truth. I was downright concerned that J might dig up something we’d have to turn in to a forensics officer. I’m not joking.
I think my story-telling inclination might be one of the reasons why I like ReStore so much. Everything there has a story, and if I can’t know what it was, I’ll conjecture. It’s almost as good as knowing the real thing.
And luckily J is sympathetic. When I ask, “Do you think that Mrs. H was a seamstress?” or “Why do you think they decided to plant XX here?” or when I suggest, “Maybe they grounded that swing frame in the cement before they built the shed only two feet away from it,” most of the time he says, “Maybe,” “Could be,” or “I don’t know.” And he leaves it at that.
He’s pretty awesome. Here’s a true story:
This afternoon he came home with this, in the back of our Focus, hatch open.
It’s actually a recliner. He found it sitting alongside the road.
Now, most people, upon discovering their spouse has picked up a random chair off the side of the road and brought it home, might say, “Um, gross. What are you doing?”
But I said, “Hey, cool. I wonder why someone put that out there. Where was it? I wonder why they’re getting rid of it. How do you think it got that hole there in the arm?” I asked a few other questions, questions neither of us could answer but amused me to think about. And then I cleaned it and disinfected it, and there it sits in the library, in all its fake leather, navy blue glory, the most significant hole hidden by the blanket.
I guess I’m just not most people.