One Tough Pup

2012-11-11 – I’m taking a break from moving furniture . . . and boxes . . . and bags . . . of stuff that we’ve accumulated over the years. We’re having our floors sanded and sealed and we have to clear most of the stuff out. Almost like we are moving. Only we’re moving to the basement and the garage, not across town or across the country.

But just like in a move, you get to see your stuff. Your old stuff. Your memories. Stuff you haven’t seen for years.

Like the small book that my son Cal wrote for his school’s young authors contest when he was in fourth grade. It’s maybe 16 pages — four sheets folded and bound at the fold in a kind of saddle stitch with yarn and beads. The book is called “Alice — 1 Tough Pup” and tells the story of how our puppy Alice was recruited into counterintelligence to fight the evil spy George Bush, who went by the alias “Snuggles.” You can tell what we talked about around the dinner table!

Alice, who was a small off-white poodle died this summer. Snuggles was a small off-white bichon who came to live with us temporarily while her owners dealt with some difficult health problems. Snuggles was not well received by our family, as you can tell. Snuggles’ family never recovered and she became a permanent resident in our house. Snuggles survived Alice by a couple of months but is gone now, too. Cal is away in college.

Lots of books.

Last week I was arranging the basement library in anticipation of moving the first floor books to the basement during the work. I put together a couple of boxes we can give to the VA, but I barely made a dent in the collection. All of my new books are ebooks. I’ve had my iPad for only a little more than a year, but already they are accumulating. They are very light. And they don’t accumulated any dust. So there’s no reason you would ever have to encounter them again, like you re-encounter your print books when you have to move them. Someone needs to build an app for that.

I don’t like moving. Even if it’s only to the basement for a week. I don’t like schlepping everything. I don’t like getting dirty and dusty. I don’t like knowing that my house is filled with cobwebs.

And memories.

Memories of dogs. Pictures of your kids when they were cute and small and unable to shirk their duty to help in the move by being 300 miles away or at work. Pictures of family who are gone.

And hundreds of LP records that you don’t play because it’s easier to play on Spotify or Pandora. But they bring back memories of those measly four years you spent in college doing crazy things, protesting another evil president, changing majors multiple times, and growing up.

And the all the CDs you started to buy, grudgingly at first because “what’s wrong with my LPs?” And now they are nearly obsolete. But the collection still reflects how my tastes in music had changed from the days when I was buying LPs.

Today is Veterans Day, a day about memories.

I never went to the service. I had a student deferment. I protested. No one of my generation in my family went either. I have brother-in-laws who went to Vietnam, though, long before I met them. And on my side of the family, I have cousins who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan. My dad went, but he was stationed in Hawaii at least a year after the Japanese were pushed back in the Pacific.

Their memories are different than mine. And their hardships . . .

The living room and dining room are now almost empty. They echo as you walk through. The mementos are all packed and stowed. We’ll bring them back next week when the workmen have left.

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