Today we were at my husband’s grandparents’ house. He and my mother-in-law were putting in a window air-conditioning unit in the kitchen. Danny has been having some trouble with his elbow, which wasn’t helped with carrying around an air-conditioner, so we asked Grandma for some sort of pain reliever. Unfortunately, she informed us that she and Papa can’t take anything like Tylenol or Advil because they’re on blood thinners, which apparently keeps them from taking almost any kind of medication. But Grandma felt determined to find something. She pulled box after bottle of assorted drugs out of that cluttered cabinet, and before giving up she said, “Well, Danny, I have some stool softener. Do you think that might help?” Then she giggled, and I almost fell off my chair laughing because, I don’t know why, hearing an elderly woman giggle is one of the funniest sounds to me. It’s like hearing Yoda being silly in The Empire Strikes Back – it’s just totally hilarious.
So no drugs for Danny as he, his mom and Papa put in the air-conditioner. As Danny tried to attach the adjustable sides, he found (much to his delight) that the screws wouldn’t fit the holes. Then Grandma brought out two pill bottles, placed a paper towel on the table and poured out all sorts and sizes of screws, nails, nuts, bolts and braces. Just when I thought how incredible her collection was, she reached under the sink and pulled out not one, not two, but three pint-sized jars full of metal pieces. Some of these things looked older than me, and none of them seemed to fit anything else.
Of course, sometimes I feel like I’ve done the same thing with my writing. I’ve collected all sorts of notebooks, scraps of paper, legal pads and computer documents – bits, pieces and sketches of things that don’t fit together or anywhere else. But then Grandma told me something today about those all those screws. She and Papa were in the car, waiting for the traffic light to turn green so they could leave the grocery store parking lot, when Grandma spotted a extremely long screw on the asphalt. She told Papa she was going to get it, despite his threats to leave her if she did so. Knowing he’s all talk, Grandma opened her car door and retrieved the screw. Within hours of arriving home, Papa had a board come loose in his workshop and eating the words he had said earlier, he asked for the screw she had picked up in the parking lot. What do you know? It was a perfect fit.
I guess I’ll just have to hold onto my bits and pieces until I can find a place where each one fits.