Whenever my mom would find things in her kitchen she no longer needed, she would put them to the side to give to Goodwill (I write this like this type of stuff doesn’t still go on). She would also tell us kids to sort through our belongings and add to her pile. My dad would always pick through our gathered up items and select a few things to keep. For years we wondered WHY he would needed the things we no longer needed. He would always reply with “you might need it one day!” before hauling it up to the attic. Some men have a man cave, a war room or a garage. My dad? He has a garage AND an attic. The garage has always been his room (I mean, it’s a given that the man get the garage since the lady gets the rest of the house), but I think he has always secretly loved his attic more. He can plunder and store things and organize and no one can see him to make fun or tease him about it. Not that we would ever do that, but just in case, he’s hidden upstairs in his attic. I never went up in the attic much because it was hot in the summer, cold in the winter and I didn’t want to get splinters in my feet. That all changed when I got ready to move into my first apartment.
I was telling my parents some of the things I had put on my list to buy with the first few of my real grownup job paychecks. Silverware, a tv cabinet, a toaster, some nice pots and pans, a flower vase. Dad swooped in and saved the day, and my bank account, when he said “oh, you should go to the attic. I think there are some of those things up there.” Little did I know he had an entire STORE in his attic. Shelving units had been put up and everything was nicely lined up so that you could browse with ease. He even said I could take things and try them and return them if I decided they didn’t suit me. He had boxes labeled so I would know what would peek my interest and what wouldn’t (children’s books? No thanks. Dynamite? Yes please). I found everything I was looking for, and more, including a rotary phone THAT I STILL HAVE TO THIS DAY. It’s great when you need to call 911.
Over the years, the items my dad has collected have gotten more and more…interesting. French fry baskets from the burger shop (in case he ever has a French frying contest?). Running shoes (in case he wakes up one day a Nigerian and decides to win a marathon?). Jelly jars (it’s no lie that my dad probably would create THE JAM of all jams). I mean, you name it, if it’s strange and comes in multiples, there’s a chance my dad collects it. And harbors it in his store in the attic. Just in case you ever need it.
This is all background to what I am about to share with you. The other day, I went to a birthday lunch at a local dive here in town that has been featured on “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.” Despite the fact that EVERYTHING is fried and everything tastes exactly the same (makes for an easy kitchen clean up at the end of the day when you’ve only got one giant pot to clean), it was a great experience. Everything was served on Styrofoam, so you could tell this dive was concerned with keeping up with the Joneses when it came to protecting the environment. One of the Styrofoam items really caught my eye. The platters of choice were these matte black Styrofoam trays. They were perfectly shaped and sized and just really cute. I immediately took the cleanest ones and stacked them up. I said to my friend Emily: “Emily, give me your plate. I need it.” “What do you need it for?” “In case I want to be a painter and this could be my paint bucket.” After having everyone stare at me like I had horns growing out my head, Emily said “but Meredith. Are you a painter? What would you paint?” I just looked at her in disbelief for questioning me. But then I went to the bathroom and looked at myself in disbelief in the mirror. IN CASE I WANT TO BE A PAINTER? Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely LOATHE painting. I haven’t the time or the patience for it and would hire someone in a heartbeat to paint my house before I would paint it. Had I just tried to justify why I needed a stack of Styrofoam
trays? Why yes, yes I had.
I have written before about the magnet I gave my mama that says “mirror mirror on the wall, I’m like my mother after all.” Well, perhaps it needs to be changed. It should read:
Mirror mirror on the wall
I like to collect things and suppose this means
I’m a lot like my dad after all.