I climbed up the ladder, moving carefully so as not to hit my head on the garage roof trusses. From this vantage point, I could scan forward and back, as well as side to side. The garage rafters were filled with the things too used to be used again, perhaps too important to discard. What lay about collecting dust were the aide-mémoires of my life. I braced my arm over the truss and pulled myself up and, for a few moments, sat among these things.
I saw a rusted cooler and the cooler faded and was replaced with a scene from a picnic. I was surrounded by family and friends…there was my mom…and my dad…my brother and sisters…my aunts and uncles, cousins, and my grandparents. Everyone laughing and talking and playing. All of us…together…enjoying each other’s presence on a day long ago. And through it all, there was a cooler….shiny new… placed in a corner of the lawn…a witness to a memory, which would be recalled on this day, when I saw a rusted cooler…in this corner of the garage.
In the rafters, my eyes moved from the cooler to a box…and the box was marked with the word “toys.” I pulled the box closer and peered inside to see some used things. There were hot wheels and matchbox cars, a GI Joe, a whizzer, spirograph parts, a viewmaster, and some Lincoln logs. But there were also my friends and we were setting up the hot wheels track…using some of my track, some of their own; it stretched from the den through the kitchen and into the dining room. If we could make the track long enough our cars would do multiple loops. Multiple loops…how ’bout that! That was a good day. I viewed the track one last time…from the den…through the kitchen…into the dining room…and then the garage. I placed the box back on its dust outlined footprint.
I looked behind me and I saw it. I had forgotten about it, but I saw and remembered. My dad had made that foosball table. It was a simple design; wooden paddles for players. He made it for my brother and me. I remember my brother playing foosball with his friends. They were there too…with me in the garage. I could see them like it was yesterday. We got a lot of hours out of that game…a fun time for all. I imagine that was my father’s grand design all along. He was good at that! “We’re going to put this game up in the rafters…you have new things now and we need the room. Let me know if you want to play again and I will get it down.” My eyes came back into focus on the game…there it was…still. There are times when we wish we could go back and play longer, but we can’t…life doesn’t work that way.
My mother’s voice brought me back. “Come on down. I made you a sandwich. You should eat something before you clean out the rafters.” “I was just looking before I started…wanted to see what I got myself into!” “Well, what did you get yourself into?” “More than I thought, but thank you!” “Thank me…I’m not sure I know what you mean.” “Nothing…anyways, thanks for the sandwich; I better get to work, I think I’ll be at it for a while!”