Jul 8, 2008

Foot Locker Findings

My mom and dad have been doing some "spring cleaning."

Since Christmas.

Let me explain.

On Christmas morning, Ma and Pa were to come by our house (they only live a mile away) and pick us up so we could all motor over to my sister's house for the day. Sister lives a half hour to 45 minutes away, so it makes sense to ride together and save.some.gas.

Early that morning, the phone rang. Caller ID said (and yes, I mean SAID 'cuz our CID talks) the call was coming from the home of my parental units. I answered with a cheerful "Merry Christmas!" only to hear my dad say, "Hello there. It's Paw." (That's what his grandkids call him.) I could hear the frustration in his voice. He said, "We're going to be a little late. We've had a little problem."

Problem? On Christmas morning?

The bottom of the hot water heater had given way some time during the night, and a gazillion gallons of water had poured onto the floor... for several hours. Water was everywhere. I asked him if they needed us to help, and he said no. I told Studly Man what had happened. We looked at each other and knew what we had to do. We got dressed and went over any way.

Water was e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.

The water heater resides in a closet in a hallway that is situated between the formal dining room and a fourth bedroom that had become the "warehouse" for all kinds of junk stuff. Some of it was mine. Okay, a lot of it was mine. Some was my sister's. (Yes, we've both been gone from home for years, but hey, why hurry?) A lot of it was Mom and Dad's.

The dining room furniture was sitting in water. The sunken living room that flows (Oooo... sorry) from the formal dining room had literally become a pool that splashed when you walked in it. The fourth bedroom and its closet were soaked.

In a word, it was wet overwhelming.

After unloading all the china and all the crystal from the hutch onto the dining room table that had been relocated to the middle of the kitchen floor, we started moving the other furniture out. And then we started moving boxes out of the fourth bedroom. And moving boxes out of the fourth bedroom. And moving boxes out of the fourth bedroom. And.... you get the point. Everything was wet.

After calling the insurance people (the whole family is in Good Hands, doncha know) and figuring out the next move, we finally got cleaned up and went over to Sister's to salvage something of our day of celebration. We did decide that even though we'd spent the morning sloshing around and moving furniture, that was a GREAT way to spend Christmas day as compared to the one we'd had three years before when we spent it in a hospital room with Daddy after he'd had a series of TIAs (mini-strokes). That was seven weeks after he'd had quintuple bypass surgery. Yeah. We'll take moving soggy furniture over that ANY day!

To make a long story longer, in the weeks that followed, it was discovered that the water heater problem was perhaps a blessing in disguise. Isn't God funny that way? What seemed like a disaster (and it did seem like it at the time) turned out to be the very thing that exposed some other problems that needed attention.

Several months later, wall board has been repaired and replaced, fresh painting has been done, new carpet has been installed throughout the house, brick planters in front of the house have been replaced with beautifully landscaped beds, and even the garage has been cleaned out and organized. Oh, and there's a new hot water heater, too.

After a ton of work getting the house reassembled, Ma and Pa decided to go through years of accumulated stuff - theirs, both of their mothers', my sister's and mine. Now one can imagine this process would take a while. What most can't imagine is how my little ole' daddy would go through it. If it didn't go straight to a dumpster somewhere, it got scanned, cataloged, repacked, or all of the above. Clearly having a photographic record of such things is imperative.

One of the things unearthed was an old foot locker of Dad's that had been adopted by me when I was in junior high. It became my treasure chest. I hadn't see it or its contents in at least two decades.

Dad scanned most of the pictures and scrapbook type stuff that was in there. I haven't stopped laughing at what I saw. The stuff I saved!!

Well... look...

Here's a felt horse glued on some wallpaper that was glued on a piece of cardboard. I'm guessing I glued this together, no doubt with the guidance of some talented and/or artsy adult.
My hand prints with the requisite poem. I was probably four or five.
A half-eaten picture of my sister and me in front of a birch tree in our front yard in Virginia. (I'm the one on the right, and I think I'm probably about five.) I'm positive my momma made our little outfits. She's quite the seamstress.

While there are many more "treasures" to explore in future blog posts, these were some of the few that made me giggle. And while it was fun to stroll down Memory Lane, there were actually very few things in the foot locker that I'll keep. Oh, sure I'll keep the photos and certificates. But the greeting cards from my first love? The program of a play another beau starred in? Newspaper clippings about people I barely remember? Nah. Those are going to the great garbage can in the sky.

I'm going to treasure my real treasures - my sweet momma and daddy who hung on to all my stuff, waded through deep waters (literally and figuratively) with me and taught me how to place value on what really matters most, the loving home they raised us in, and the spiritual heritage and legacy they've given me.

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:19-21

That right there? That's pure gold.


Anonymous said...

Amen and Amen, Sister Jennifer! You made me smile tonight! I'm counting my blessings one by one! And enjoy the treasures (friends and family) that the Lord has provided for me here on earth! And can't wait to get to heaven for the most important treasure there!
Ruby's Fairy Godmother!

GoSuze! said...

Another terrific blog entry, and a glimpse into "GrowingUpJenny"...thanks!!!!

Kim said...

I LOVE posts like this. What great treasures you certainly found, AND...God does work like that...turning tough situations into blessings!!!

Have a GREAT day.