Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In memoriam

This is not about the kindness of strangers, which one relied on heavily for board and lodgings while travelling, nor about how about how imminent death can bring out the best and the worst in families. This isn't even about the stylish nature of the women of Dunedin... though they are very stylish. In spite of the drab skies or perhaps in response to it, those women rock the brights... fuchsia, cobalt blue, reds, greens and vibrant purples of every hue... in scarfs, gloves, hats, coats and most interestingly to oneself... shoes.

No, this is about the man who caused all of this kerfuffle... father... the pack rat. As we cleaned out his little crib we got insights into the squirrel mindset. The man threw nothing out... every picture and memento of the baby sister's life was recorded in some box or on some wall. Including a picture of that haircut... the one we would all prefer to forget about... perhaps her most of all.

He lived in a small seaside enclave on the wild Dunedin coast line. A place noted for its quiet, breathtaking beauty and the somewhat eccentric locals. Most of whom seem to have gone there to escape someone or something... in his case one suspects it is the domineering women in his life. And having seen them in action this last week one can sympathise with him fully. He found this beautiful oasis of calm and settled in... to take the mantra of condense, reuse and recycle to its max.

He kept every box of every item that came across his door. Some of them were repurposed in inventive ways; Pringles boxes were used to store old bills in, empty pill boxes were flattened and neatly folded up inside a whole one, every plastic bag was stored inside another. While all of this was commendable there was one tiny flaw in the plan. None of it ever made its way to the recycling bin.

In his garage was every appliance that had ever been burnt out, while his previous car kept guard across the doorway... lurking amongst the camouflage of the foxgloves ready to aggress any accidental tourist.

We knew it was bad... we came prepared. As it turned out though, it was all unnecessary. In his cupboards was every cleaning product known to woman... all MIB so to speak. Hell we even found the economy sized bucket of rat bait... still full. Rather like the recycling thing it was never taken to that next vital level... much to the relief of the rest of the residing rodent population no doubt.

Until we came along and ripped it all out... twelve years of it... in one final blow to his idyllically peaceful, squirreling lifestyle. To get it ready for the next owner who will no doubt be no less quirky than the last... 


lil said...

Good to see you back.

Malcolm said...

This is very evocative, something different from the usual run of blog posts.

I'm reminded of my eldest son's death in Berlin and the tidying up of his apartment by his younger brothers. Thanks for jogging nostalgic memories, also for the word picture of the beautiful Dunedin coast, so far away.