I love old things, things so soaked in time and memories that when I hold them in my hands I imagine the weight of days gone by. And because I do like old things, I like auctions, so yesterday, after work, I met my wife at an auction in Fredericktown.
This auction was held at a home not far from Knox Lake. Immaculate, the place had obviously been cared for by people who poured a lot of themselves into it. And it turned out that the surviving half of the couple who built and lived in the home was present for the auction, a sweet-looking elderly lady who looked like she'd seen a lot, and liked most of what she'd seen.
Well, I stuck around. Even sober, I enjoy the bidding, the neat ebb and flow that makes an auction an auction, and the odd assortment of people who show up for these events. So, I won a few things, lost a few more, didn't spend much money, which is good, because I didn't have much, but I had fun.
Eventually, I owned an old rocking chair so ugly that I got it for two dollars--because Christina loved it. (Mental note: never take Christina to auctions) But I also ended up with some really nice old books, early 1900's, a leather recliner from, I'd guess, the fifties or sixties, and maybe a dozen mirrors, portraits, and paintings in ornate frames dating from the 1920's to the late 1800's.
Cool stuff. Really cool.
But today, as I consider a rather stern-looking gent in a portrait that looks to be from the 1880's, and as I remember the sweet-looking old lady who wandered the auction with the aid of a walker as the accumulated treasures of her lifetime and even her parents' lifetime were pieced out to the highest bidders, I can't help but be reminded of our impermanence.
We're only here for a short time--less than the blink of an eye in the life of our planet. When we die, or even before, our prizes, all the crap we've accumulated, our treasures, even the mementos of loved ones who've preceded us into the void, get scattered like seeds in the wind. Hopefully, I guess, some of our treasures fall into the hands of people who appreciate them, folks who value the history that's soaked into an old picture or a bread basket from The Great Depression. But often as not, I imagine, the stuff ends up on eBay, at the flea market, or in a yard sale. So ultimately stuff, or at least most stuff, has little or no value beyond our existence, or if we stretch, that of our children or grandchildren.
And we're not much different, are we?
Aside from the genes we pass down through the generations, a donation for which we receive no credit, I'd say, we are quickly gone and forgotten
Well think about it: We know and (hopefully) revere our parents. If we're lucky, we know or knew our grandparents. In my case, I knew both my paternal grandparents, my maternal grandmother, and fortunately, even my great-grandmother on my father's side. But that's it. Beyond that, my family tree is a blank puzzle that I sometimes wonder about, but for which I have no answers.
Still, even if I had names to plug into the empty slots on the old family tree, they would just be names, wouldn't they? You can't get personality, true knowledge of a person, who they were, how they were, from a name on a piece of paper, can you?
And I'd guess most folks have similar familial backgrounds, perhaps a bit more detailed, perhaps a bit less, but similar, and beyond that--poof. We're gone. Dust in the wind.
So where does that leave me in my current ruminations? Well, lost, as always. No magnificent revelations, but with my personal beliefs unchanged:
That I am here for only a short while, but that the people who matter will know I was a good man and that I loved them. That I will always try to make the best of what I've got. That if I lose a leg, I'll strap on a new one and get back to walking. That I will work diligently toward whatever goals I set. That I will always try to do the right thing, even when it's difficult. That I will never quit.
Pretty simple, I guess. Pretty basic. And if I am quickly forgotten, as most of us are, I will still linger in the memories of those who count, and my genes, be they appreciated or not, will still mix with other genes to build my descendants, just as the genes of my long-dead ancestors keep them alive in me.
Yeah, I guess we're gone pretty quick, but those damn genes, they make us immortal, don't they? And the treasures that get auctioned off and scattered? What the hell were they worth, anyway, beyond what a stranger is willing to pay? Because the real treasures are the ones with our blood in their veins, don't you think?
Now where did I start with all this? What did I want to communicate? Who the hell knows--my thoughts often wander where they want without much guidance from me. And what does it matter, anyway, because just like us, these blogs are gone pretty damn quick.
Happy Sunday. Go have some fun. MT
Oh--Anybody want to buy a really ugly chair?