There's often some junk, valuable only to the person that originally purchased it, for reasons unknown. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say, and for every Popeil Pocket Chainsaw (with Cap Snaffler), there's someone that would buy one. There are also treasures, marked up accordingly, there are small things, that only a certain individual will be drawn to. There are things that were once worn, things that once graced a home, things in small jars, the buyer peering into them, as if inspecting some curious small life form preserved in alcohol.
In my kitchen are a number of things from such places, a bread box, a scale, glasses and some dishes. In the shop, even more so, things that previous generations used as they cleared and planted the pitiless earth, crafting what they needed to survive out of the materials at hand, doing so as they endured, the tools, straight, yet nicked and worn, much like the men the held them, twins of the same travail.
I came back from a short trip a lifetime ago to find a housecleaning had occurred, during my presence, not of the dust bunny round up, but the purging of "things", of which there really weren't very many in a young couple's home. But things of value were suddenly missing, or in the process of being hauled away, including a baby grand piano that I bought before we'd even met with a small annuity I got when my Mom died. It was being hauled off on a farmer's old truck with other things.. Things that would bring money that would pay off the debts of one who gambled, not just with dice or cards, but with generous nature of man or machine, taking risks that could prove costly, and typically losing. The $5000 piano sold for $500.
I watched quietly as the doors to the moving truck opened up, filling the air with the smell of cold and impending snow, the piano itself sitting there, as if rooted to the ground, in the grip of some dreadful inertia. Or maybe that was me.
I wanted to speak out, knowing I would only be met with the voice that had that quality at once, both dismissal and coldness, as though it had no interest in what you would say, or what the words even meant. Speaking up meant consequence upon soft flesh, bruises hidden under stiff cloth and within a stiff heart. I kept quiet, breath simply taken in, a small gesture of self-preservation, but a part of me left that day on that truck, next to a garden that filled with darkness.
There are things I have that others would look at and simply scratch their head. A Lollipop with a dried scorpion in it, an old beaker, a small stuffed Hedgehog, a blue uniform type shirt that hangs in the closet, a tiny ceramic skunk. An old violin, one that pales in comparison next to Partner's, one he played in a symphony orchestra in Austria when he was a young man. It's like sitting a 1986 Saturn next to a Lamborghini.
Yet that cheap violin was the first one I played, albeit badly, and in the playing came healing, and I again braved a piano bench, an accompaniment of trust as the notes of a violin rose, crystal sounds of loss and hope that swelled up out of the frozen night.
They are important to me, for reasons beyond the value of their form, the appreciation of their worth. Without them I am still strong of spirit, grown that way through time and adversity, yet against the evil of man, there in the dark, outweighed or outnumbered, I'm simply the flame of one small match and as weak, under a unforgiving moon.
In your home, as well perhaps, as in mine, uniforms of those that went before, carefully maintained, to be passed down, to along to those who will remember.