Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Back Home Again, in Indiana...

I never really liked that song much. Still, it's appropriate.

Last March, my Dad asked my Mom what she wanted for her birthday, and she said, "I want to have my whole family out." So, Dad got on the 'net and on the phone, booked us plane tickets, and we came out.

While I was there (even for just a weekend), one of the things that struck me was all the artifacts of my childhood. They really struck me, and made me remember. I shot some pics with my cell phone, and thought I'd share a few, with their stories.

This first one is our piano. I can't ever remembering a time when we didn't have it. My mom gave me my first piano lessons on it (even though at the time I didn't want them that bad). I used to sit on one side of it and listen to my sister play. I'm sure that bugged her, but that was probably a big reason why I did it at the time.

I did learn to play some cool songs on it, like "Nobody Home" from "The Wall", and Genesis' "Abacab". When I played that one it would drive my mom nutz. Once she said, "You know, you could vary the bass line, some..."

Once, while a boy scout at Camp Krietenstein, I found this dead tree that had a branch off at a really interesting angle. I cut it off, and brought it back to camp, where I spent several days turning it into this walking stick. This would have been in the later 70's. I brought it home, and mom showed me some oils to rub into it as a finish. I don't even know what kind of wood it is. I just thought it looked great, and made a great walking stick.

I'm not sure at what point it stopped being mine and started being hers, but we've both been happy with the arrangement. As her health and strength have faded, she's used it more and more, to the extent that she pretty much carries it wherever she goes, now. Even though it has a strange curve to the cane, it supports her weight well, and has never cracked. Kinda makes me proud!

This is the cookie jar that Mom pretty much kept full of homemade chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies most of my life. She tells the story that at one point I came up to her while she was working on something and pouted. When she asked what was wrong, I said, "The cookie jar is empty and all you do is sit there."

I learned to steal from this jar with amazing efficiency. I knew Mom was upstairs, so it required utmost stealth. I would sneak up to the jar (no easy feat, with creaky floors), grab the lid handle, and in one fast motion lift it straight up, so as to not make any noise. After retrieving the cookies, I'd gently set it back down and creep away. It took a lot of practice to get the technique down, but once I had it, no cookie was safe. Muahahahahaha!

Mark Hansen

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