Wednesday, January 10, 2007

French Bread Bags Don't Need to Move With You

Twelve years after my parents divorce, my father is moving homes again -- from a largish tract home on one hill to a largish tract home on another hill; this one with an ocean view. My sister is helping him move the stuff in his old garage to his new garage. She calls me to come rescue her from my father's old garage, where she's sure she's picking up the Hanta virus. I arrive at my dad's new house to find my sister unloading boxes from the bed of his pickup truck. I approach them through a maze of box upon box of empty wine bottles. "Dad," I say, "this is the kind of stuff you're supposed to throw away when you move."

"God dammit Christa!" He yells. "Your mother throws everything away. This is why she has no history! My family has a history! I am a historian! I'm a saver, goddammit. In the old days, people didn't just throw stuff away. If you needed some string, or some iron fillments, the nearest store was 40 miles away. You'd have to borrow them from a neighbor!"

"Okay, Dad," I say.

My sister interrupts, "Excuse me, Dad, but where would you like me to put this?" She pulls a lone french bread bag from the pickup bed and holds it up for my dad to see.

He points across the driveway, to the far corner lined with the potted flowers he spends his days tending, "Put it over in one of those boxes with the other french bread bags," he says.

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