The Last Windrow: Rediscovering the past together

John Wetrosky - Last Windrow.jpg

My wife recently retired from nearly 40 years in the workforce. She's not quite sure she's ready for full retirement and may seek some kind of part-time employment to fill some of her days. Until then she is busy doing things in our house that have been sitting there awaiting some attention for some years. One of those things is digging out our life's history both before and after marriage. There has been a lot of digging.

Somehow the remnants of our past have become housed in various cracks and crevices of our house. One of our crevices is the rarely used closet space under our stairway. There is no light in this place and it just seems to be a convenient place to toss items that we rarely use. My wife found that space last week and from this tiny place she proceeded to dig out a room full of old papers, pictures, records, suitcases and a multitude of other items from our past. I now have an idea of how Christ fed the multitude with just a couple of fish. I hardly have room to store my snowblower in the basement space that has been dedicated to its storage for many years. Our past is strewn across the concrete floor.

Among those relics of our past are things like 4-H prizes, a shotgun slug from the first deer I ever harvested, some World War II bullets from my dad's collection, senior pictures that I had long ago forgotten about and even a tooth with a giant size hole that I had pulled in 1968. Evidently in those days dentists didn't try to save teeth, they just pulled them. Such were some of the items that came forth from a box of memorabilia that somehow either of us had decided were too important to toss away.

Hidden in the back of this hidden closet space was a record turntable with speakers. Under it were stored two feet of vinyl albums. Artists such as Johnny Mathis, Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Glenn Miller and Roger Miller were stacked there ready to be played again. Just looking at the colorful and artistic colors of those album covers brought back memories of a bygone day when we listened to the spinning discs with appreciation. I haven't tried the player yet, but in the near future I intend to see if the needle still works. Bob Dylan, here I come.

My wife also found bags of travel brochures. Places we had been in our early married years and later. There were maps of the Great Smoky Mountains and Cade's Cove, the Okefenokee Swamp in Florida, Nashville, Mobile Bay and more. Some of the places we had visited I had actually forgotten about until I was reminded by all those travel brochures. They brought back memories of our trip inside Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, the Arch in St. Louis, the north shore of Lake Michigan and the Badlands of the Dakotas. Why we kept those maps and brochures I don't know because we never looked at them again after we'd unpacked the car.


Trinkets also have come to the surface. The things that you win at a county or state fair. Things that have no value but were exciting to win at the time. There are souvenirs of places. A pop bottle from the Grand Tetons, a rubber alligator from the swamps of Louisiana, a key chain from Wall Drug, a piece of petrified wood from a gravel pit in Iowa. These were all treasures at one time, but somehow ended up in a hidden corner of our home.

We've been having fun rediscovering all this "stuff" of which only we have any attachment to. Actually I have no attachment to any of it any longer other than that now it lays strewn across our kitchen table making it tough to make room for my dinner plate. As I wrap my fork with spaghetti and cast my gaze across those past treasures, it doesn't seem too long ago that they were collected, but it really was a lifetime.

So, until my wife decides that she has accomplished the feat of clearing our house of anything of no consequence (which could include me), I will no doubt continue to re-discover our past together and apart. I can't wait to see what she digs out next! Discovering these "treasures" does make one aware of how fast time passes. Seems like only yesterday.

See you next time. Okay?

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