old yeller

meet the new pot, same as the old pot

I have many treasures from my grandparents’ house. Though I am slowly (very. slowly.) downsizing my belongings in an attempt to simplify, there are some things I have a sentimental attachment to and don’t want to get rid of. For instance, the yellow pot on the right. It belonged to my grandmother. I was lucky to eat many delicious meals made in that pot. In the years that I’ve had it, the meals have continued (and have, hopefully, continued to be delicious).

But there’s a problem: the formerly white enameled inside has worn down to the cast iron. This pot isn’t meant to be down to the cast iron, and I’ve thought about replacing it for some time. The emotional attachment made that hard to do. Until this weekend, when I put old yeller out to pasture and replaced it with a new model. Not because I no longer care, but because sometimes it’s good to let go.

When my grandfather died, seven years after my grandmother, his house had to be emptied so it could be sold (and, as is the way these days, torn down so a monstrosity with two elevators could be put on the lot). They’d lived in that house for over fifty years, and it was full of memories. In an attempt to hold on to my grandparents a little while longer, I brought a lot of their stuff home to join with my stuff. And when my brother died, I did the same thing. It’s nice to be able to hold something that the person you’re missing used to hold. It feels like a tangible connection to someone who’s not tangibly here anymore.

It’s been almost three years since Mason died, and I’ve come to realize that I don’t need a tangible reminder for him to be present in my life. I think about him every day. My brother Tohner and I tell Mason stories all the time. We also like to guess what he would say about a given situation if he were still here. I don’t need to sit on his couch (currently residing in my living room) to connect to him. He’s always here. And occasionally when I’m on the phone with Tohner and he barks out laughter that sounds just like Mason’s, it’s almost like he’s on the other end of the line. He lives on in photos, memories, stories and shared DNA. The stories we tell, the memories we share–those things are what connect us. And they will never be replaced, even when the enamel has worn thin.

All this being said, I haven’t thrown old yeller away yet. Just put it in the back of the kitchen cabin for now. I’m not quite ready to let it go, though I know I will some day. And it’ll be okay.

8 thoughts on “old yeller

  1. Heather Bateman

    Thank you. I put sentimental value on everything it seems. You’re right, those are things and the memories will last much longer.
    I’ve lost 3 close friends since Mason (yesterday being the most recent loss of a friend who was in my life for 32 years) and I’m tired. So tired of collecting things and forgetting the more important thing is to share my stories and memories rather than hold on to things that give nothing back.
    Thanks for sharing this today. It was needed. 🙂

    1. The nice thing about sharing stories and memories with others is that you usually get some in return, thus increasing your stock.

      I’m sorry to hear about your friend, Heather. Take care of yourself.

  2. Don’t think that if I don’t comment, I didn’t read it. I do and I did. I am in my season of caustic cynicism and trying to spare my friends the corrosion by holing up in my lair and being grouchy. Plus, a heart-felt post like this one stands alone just fine without any help from the likes of me.

    And also: I am reading a humorless biography of William Kidd and thinking piratical thoughts. As in Walmart is the East India Company and Trailer Park People are pirates. I have somehow inexplicably become fixated on Walmart (well, not inexplicable, I just spent my life’s savings there.) and my head is spinning.

    See? That is why I am not commenting. By the way, my childhood is full of happy memories of being served many steaming meals on Saturday afternoon at MaMaw’s. When it rained on Saturday we would have Chili and when it did not rain it was sauerkraut and spare ribs. Her pot did not look like the one your Grandmother had. Hers was that deep blue-speckled kind that has a name that I cannot remember. Mostly I remember the big ladle as it hovered over the bowl, full of loving kindness. This is a season indeed, a time for memory and good ones; but they are not all good and I’ll just use yours from your post. Sometimes stolen memories are best.

    tj

    1. Most of the people who read this blog don’t comment, TJC, so no sweat. I can see by my ticker that people stop by, and that’s good enough. I’m pretty lax in making blog post comments myownself.

      If you decide to go tilting at Walmarts, you could find a whole army of people who are ready to stand with you. And not just the hipsters.

      Waiting for the next installment of your offline stuff…sometimes caustic cynicism can lead to really great (and often funny) writing.

  3. What happened is now that somebody is reading it I want to dress it up. Like that faux Hemingway para #3 above. It’s a damnable shame. My best stuff, as far as i am concerned, comes out at three in the morning when I am drunk and out of booze and the police might just be knocking at the door any minute. No time for flowery prose, just raw disgust and self loathing and gut fear and the fact that it often comes out funny is just how it comes out. Also I am in some kind of lazy phase. If I send more over you may see some duplication because I have lost track . Thanks for everything, Cryjack. It keeps me goin’.

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