Junk Drawer in my Mind

That’s what it is, you know. That little drawer you pull out or sometimes it just slips out for no reason at all …that drawer full of miscellany gathered through the years. There’s absolutely no reason why some of that data is saved and probably we aren’t aware it is saved until a smell, a song or something from the past pulls the knob and out slides the drawer.

Why would I remember some of the junk that rattles in my brain. So clearly I remember helping Ma hang clothes and when we were finished, she leaned down, picked a small white plant and asked if I knew what it was. Well, without waiting for me to answer, she told me it was Indian tobacco and proceeded to break off the head of it and chew it. Not to be outdone in any way, I followed suit and proceeded to pass the rest of the day by chewing and spitting out some sort of brown liquid and thought I was pretty smart for my nine years of age. Ma did not take much time during her busy hours for fun and laughter, leaving that up to my Dad who excelled at it, but the Indian tobacco day lives in my mind.

I seemed to be the “achy” kid. It was a known fact that my left ear could not go a day without it rattling the side of my head. In fact, at one time during a particularly horrid winter, a friend of my mother’s at the mill, sent a hot water bottle to school by her son during the lunch hour. I remember laying my head on the hot water bottle during the afternoon and how grateful I was for the heat. Dad had his own cure for that at home. In the evening, he lit a cigarette, brushed my hair to one side, and blew the smoke in my ear and immediately pushed some cotton in. Whether it was because he took the time to pay attention to my ear or whether the warm smoke really helped, I have no idea. My mother turned both thumbs down when he announced that some friends had another “cure” back in the “old country”. They used a teaspoon of urine in the ear and that cured all. For some reason, whatever Ma told Dad about that suggestion never made it to my junk drawer.

I always had one tooth that ached. Like other kids at the time, I had made a trip to Dr. Brown in Bethel, had the gas, teeth pulled etc but that one tooth would not let me rest. Ma always went to the cupboard, pulled down a can of McCormick’s cloves and told me to put a dab on my finger..on to the tooth and it would calm it. It did and I swear I used more cloves in my mouth than she did in her cooking. I never tried that on my own four kids though.  Apparently the junk drawer did not have time to open and hand me any of this information.

A lot of useless (?) information floats around in my brain. I remember Dad telling me never to fish for yellow perch in August because they were always wormy that month. I passed that on to my oldest son. I hope Dad knew what he was talking about. Most of any information I have that I probably will never use again was given me by Dad. Like, whatever you do, Muff, don’t buy a Dodge Dart. Those buttons are useless and wish I had never bought it. I think the buttons were the gears if I remember correctly…I had long been married and had no intentions of buying a Dodge Dart…and on another occasion..don’t buy a damn Chevvy. The key broke off in the door and I can’t get it out.  A lot of information on automobiles, especially if he was in frantic mode time.

Half the junk drawer is loaded with tips on hunting and guns, both of which I cared nothing about and the farther I got from a gun, the better. I guess both Ma and Dad felt that all the kids should know how to handle a gun properly and then if we wanted to use one, well we were set for life. 

I guess the junk drawer kind of skittled out this morning as I went out to water my one tomato plant on the deck. Water them in the morning, Ma always said, of her flowers and plants. You  burn their feet if you wait til noon.

OK Ma, that one stuck with me and I even passed it on to a friend the other day. I am sure the junk drawer will come out again on occasion when needed.



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