Here’s my INTRO – I have been facilitating a stream of consciousness writing class through Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation at the Olympia Center.  Each class has two or three twenty minute writing exercises with time for the participants to read.  These exercises promote writing quickly without editing.

Last week for the first exercise, I brought in very old kitchen utensils such as my grandmother’s wooden cooking spoon all worn and smooth, an ice cream scoop, bone handled two tine fork, a nut cracker set, etc. 

Nut Cracker Set

I ended up with Grandma’s nutcracker set. No one in the family thought it was important even though it came in the original box. One silver metal hinged nutcracker with very textured handles was accompanied by three picks with the same decorative pattern. The packaged set resides in my buffet drawer. Periodically I take them out when sorting the drawer contents. I don’t purchase bulk nuts still in their shells. Actually I can’t remember seeing them in the grocery store’s baking aisle. Everything is shelled and prepackaged in plastic bags or cardboard tins.

My favorite walnut recollection involves my college buddy, Eileen. Her family’s living room was typical for the later 60’s. Her father’s chair was separated from her mother’s smaller chair by an end table replete with lamp, TV guide and bowl of nuts. The couch was along the wall and her parent’s chairs directly faced the TV. Her parents exhausted from work would relax while watching their news and Wheel of Fortune while Eileen did the dishes.

One afternoon while visiting, she had me help her carefully; I’m talking with a surgeon’s precision to open each individual walnut without damaging the shell. It took great skill to avoid destroying the dry shells. We worked for an hour or more pulling the meat out and making sure to keep the top and bottom halves matching.  I wasn’t sure what she was up to but I didn’t think it involved cookies.

My hopes were dashed when she produced pen, paper, scissors and glue. Carefully she penned various notes to her father. Some notes were simple things like I love you, take a walk every day, and hugs and kisses. He had a bad heart and who knew if another heart attack would claim him.  Inserting the notes, the next step was to glue the shells back together while keeping the seam free of extraneous glue.  My car was loaded while she switched out half the real nuts in the nut bowl with the altered hidden message ones.  Apparently this was one of Eileen’s favorite jokes to pull on her father. After tidying up any sign of our mischievous activity we left to return to the dorm.

Here I am across the country from that time and place. Missing the adventures we participated in; missing family connections that have passed. Eileen and I will always be connected with or without contact.

It’s interesting that objects can time machine one backwards to distant events.  My daughter will most likely Goodwill many of these odd treasures that I packed and dragged across the country. Displaced as I am, they are my transporters.

Some other kitchen utensils came from my grandparents, Aunts or friends. Still functional they are deposited on shelf, drawers or cabinets. Somewhere there is the lesson of release… letting go the unnecessary, the relics of former lives that vibrate with previous intent.  Maybe I need to photograph and log these items in albums on Face Book but then I would miss the physical feel, the visual cues, the smell…

Think I’ll mail a teabag to Eileen – a nice pekoe or green tea.  A long distance tea party on Skype to remember the Great Walnut Caper, The Grapefruit Drop, The Skinny Dipping Alligator, The Carpenter Ant Battle  and the One Day Round Trip to Provincetown in Seymour the SAAB just because we could…

10/17/2013

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