Monday, June 27th, 2011

I drove up to Manawa yesterday to bring my Mom’s laptop back to her. I drove home with a car full of tools and camping gear.

Mom’s moving house soon. She put the ancestral manse up for sale last week, and she priced it to sell. She already has a couple buyers looking at it. She may be months or weeks or days from moving out, so she got rid of the last of the things she doesn’t want to take away with her by showing them to me while threatening to toss them in a dumpster. That worked.

The first thing she showed me was an odd assortment of hand tools she’d spread across my father’s work bench in the basement. The man had something like two dozen screwdrivers of wildly differing sizes. I’ve no doubt that was in part his way of ensuring he stood a better than even chance of finding one in a house where his sons routinely walked off with his screwdriver, wrenches and pliers, then either put them back in the wrong place (which I guess wouldn’t technically be “putting them back,” would it?), or dropped them on the spot and forgot about them. No wonder the man was constantly stamping around the house grumbling, “Where the hell is my [insert name of lost tool]?”

Mom also wanted to get rid of a tent and some other camping equipment like a lantern and a cook stove. I took it all off her hands on the slight chance that I might somehow figure out a way to get B to give up a few days in her garden to spend a weekend at Penninsula State Park or one of our state’s other lovely campgrounds in the summer. I’m no closer to figuring that one out than I am to building my own moon rocket, but the possibility’s there. It could happen.

She also bequeathed to me a stack of newspapers my father kept for reasons that remain unknown to us at the moment. For a very short time he worked at a tiny tabloid newspaper in Marquette called The Mirror until it folded (har!) shortly after he was hired on. Mom found a bundle of them, eight inches thick, tied up with a cord. Maybe he kept them as no more than a memento, or maybe I’ll leaf through them at some time in the future and, who knows, find an amazing story. It seems more likely, though, that I’ll remain mystified and the newspapers will end up in the recycling bin.

Once everything was loaded into the car, ready to go, Mom made us a couple hamburgers, threw them on the grill, and we sat down to lunch. That was nice. Not only did she fill my trunk with camping equipment and tools, she filled my tummy with hamburgers and beans.

We sat in the front room for a short time afterwards to talk a little before I had to go. She saw me off from the end of the driveway in proper Wisconsin style with a wave before turning to head back to the house as I motored off toward the highway.

manawa | 9:15 pm CDT
Category: Dad, daily drivel, Mom, O'Folks
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