Trash or Treasure?
God help me. MTM is building a bike storage shed under our downstairs piazza so that puny, lazy me can get my bike out and ride, ride, ride. Now, it is stored in his man-shed in the back yard. Between the flesh-eating mosquitoes and the piles of man-stuff, I cannot wiggle my bike through the door without scratches to my person and bad words galore.
So, Labor Day Weekend has turned into toil and travail for MTM. Not only has he re-pointed the footings with historically accurate grout and constructed a perfectionist-fantasy of level concrete to hold the walls of the bike structure, but he has also conducted an archeological excavation under our very own porch. I think I am going to crawl under there with him and start sifting through the dirt. Who knew people in Charleston used to just throw their trash under the house?
I wonder what child lost his army man to the hidden depths of dirt, what dog buried a bone, what person threw a half-eaten orange so casually, not knowing it would petrify? Who dragged river stones all the way from someplace else, only to deposit them in the dark recesses of the porch? And, the bottles he unearthed, rainbows of old glass, elixirs of promised healing through quack doctoring or moonshine, some with the names still intact, blaring down through the passage of time and the pressure of dirt. Who left the toy cement mixer to tease MTM and his cement-mixing self into thinking his hand system was inferior?
I guess this stuff is trash, or was trash to someone. Did the person who swilled Buffalo Elixir sleep in my bedroom? Maybe the army man crashed down my stairs more than once, flung by the hand of a vanished little boy who liked to follow it with the tiny cement truck. Oranges grow in my back yard; did this one originate here or elsewhere? I studied each bottle, hoping for a wadded up note, a few remnants that would make it a time capsule, anything that might yield a message from someone who came before me.
Alas, the trash is the treasure, the only clues to the people who once called this house ‘home.’ What can I leave behind to excite some future someone to wonder about me?