It's about time for another trip to Goodwill. Old clothes I never wear, cups and mugs from the back of the cabinet that never make it into the rotation, books I've never read and never will read — they've all gotta go. I came to realize years ago, after, for lack of better terminology, my shit rainstorm, how cleansing it is to get rid of stuff I no longer need. You know that feeling you get when you've cleaned out your purse or your car and life seems wonderful and uncomplicated? After a good stuff-cleansing I am my purse with no trace of already-been-chewed chewing gum wrapped in a napkin that wiggles its way out of the napkin and sticks to everything else. I am clean and organized and know exactly where my keys are. This philosophy's become my credo in recent years — part of the collected works that comprise my own personal wisdom. I'm in dire need of that Goodwill purge right now, and bonus: another soul on the planet might actually benefit from all that stuff. Win win.
Switching subjects: It's the holidays and I miss my brother! When he was literally on his deathbed in the hospice facility ten years ago, a nurse asked me if we were twins. I hadn't thought of it before that moment, but yes, for all intent and purposes we were — only 14 months apart in age and allies from day one. But I'm currently angry at myself, not for a lack of love for him, but because I seem to have undergone a diminishing of brain cells with passing years and many of the details of my life and times with that wonderful person are fading, I'm ashamed to say. Thank God for small reminders, especially at this time of year, including but not limited to The Carpenters, Andy Williams, and Charlie Brown Christmas albums.
Here's where stuff is important — and I'm gonna sound like a really old person here. Every framed or digital photo that reflects my brother's face is a memory to treasure. As is a VHS video of both of us yucking it up in a paddleboat at the lake behind our parents' old house — coincidentally, at Christmastime. His old transistor radio collection I inherited. See's candy, Starbursts, and Baby Ruth bars. Old cassette tapes containing our voices as children. Charmin toilet paper (there's a story). His book "1,000 Questions Every Home Buyer Should Ask" (he'd always lived in rented apartments), and old yearbook from Jr. High on which he graffiti'd the word prison after the title, i.e. "El Rancho Junior High School Prison" (I keep it on the bookshelf for easy reference!). His Cuisinart pot/pan set. Ornaments on the Christmas tree. Just random things.
I own a few expensive luxuries — fine crystal, jewelry, and the like — but none compare to the everyday items that scream precious memories of my lost loves. (My dad is equally missed this time of year and merits his own blog entry!) Those little trinkets mean the world to me!
Speaking of stuff: Stuff That Works-Guy Clark