While running this morning I noticed that a few doors down from us, where “Sale” signs had been posted for a week, a long line of people awaited the reported 9:00 opening. A few days previous there had been a beautiful cabinet displayed outside- advertisement. When I returned home, I saw people leaving the house- proudly carrying their new belongings. I thought I would see what was going on and walked into the home. Almost immediately I was struck by feelings of reverence, and wonder. I was entering the remains of someone’s world.
Walking trancelike through the rooms, I considered the life of the man, I felt, who had owned these things. What had he filled these many chest of drawers with? Books on medicine and surgery filled the shelves of a room completely walled in red bookcases. Had he been a doctor, like my own husband will be? He had walnut oil in his kitchen too, like me. Did he receive his from a health nut, like I did? I noticed a pastry cutter, taped together with a wine bottle opener and a garlic press it was selling for 1.00. I need a pastry cutter and picked it up. It was at this point that I noticed those around me.
They didn’t seem to be viewing the surroundings like the Museum piece that I was. Rather they scavenged through the belongs, greedily trying to beat out their followers. One woman sneered and commented on the mess of bird seed on the outside porch. “Somebody fed the birds” she declared disgustedly. Raising my eyes from her observation, I saw the backyard- a perfect replica of the garden Tom fears I will one day own. There was no grass- only a path between flower beds. It showed signs of old glory, gone wild with years of unintended neglect. The garden made me feel close to this man. I wished I could have helped him with his flowerbeds. Wished I would have known of their condition, hid from me by his beautiful home. Now as his comrade, I became sensitive to the comments about his belongings. The argument between two individuals over who claimed his garden bench first, hurt. Who were we, outsiders, sweeping in vultureously to possess his remains.
I didn’t have money with me, so I walked back home. With nothing. I pondered over whether I should go back and buy that pastry cutter. I had wanted one several times while making various dishes. I waited, showered, and dressed- thinking of him, that man. I decided to go back and get the honored device. But it was gone- like him.
I never met the man, or who I believe to be a man. But his possessions told me about him. His house smelled of cats- his lone companions, and the files of people carrying art work- revered his cultural taste. All of the furniture was wood and of firm quality build. The bird seed and garden told of his love of the outdoors.
In someways I wish I had that pastry cutter- so I could remember him. However, visiting his house strengthen within me the knowledge that life lives on after death. Earthly possessions can be passed from estate sale to thrift store, but they will never leave this earth.