I have this old, beat up wooden stool that I need to get rid of, but can’t motivate myself to just put it out by the curb on trash night. It’s not much, really, and I haven’t used it in well over a decade. Don’t remember where I got it from, and it’s been reinforced and painted numerous times, the seat has been covered with a section of wood paneling, the whole thing stands about two-and-a-half feet tall, but its tensile strength has long since dissipated and could never endure being sat upon.
You see, the old girl was a long time stage companion of mine the many years I spent endeavoring to become a rock star. During countless rehearsals and gigs she held my drinks, smokes, guitar picks, set lists and any other necessary paraphernalia I needed to get the job done. I included it as a performing necessity, on the list with my bass guitar, flute and amplifier. Why I never named her, I don’t know, but I did assign a gender. That must mean something.
After I resigned from playing live, my faithful companion held plants by a window, or supported a radio for backyard entertainment, or stood tall as a coaster for our guests convenience.
Alas, like me, she has aged, and as with me, her legs are not as steady as they once were. Her functionality is at near zero and why she is still around is a conundrum. My timbered ally deserves more than just being discarded ruthlessly, left to the mercy of an uncaring trash man, thrown into a compactor to suffer an unthinkable demise. Perhaps cremation is the route to go. I could keep her ashes in a small jar, among the embers of old pets that reside on our dining room hutch.
It seems to be an idiosyncratic inheritance of aging: failing to part with the most trivial of items. Old children’s toys, dad’s last phone, mom’s costume jewelry, my dear brother’s pocket knife and his wife’s spoon collection…the list goes on. All of our hoarded items have soul, containing the energy of years ago of people who have shuffled off this mortal coil or have simply moved on. When they are held there is a transference, they invoke the recalling of a past that has left us, good or bad. Though maybe no longer as functional as they once were, they have purpose and cause to exist among the ever-shortening time left to us.
I still might resign my stool to curbside. If I don’t, then she’ll be trashed by someone else when I’m gone and that person will be cold and uncaring because to them she’ll only be a broken down old stool. They’ll never know of her place among the footlights, sharing my hallowed youth. I think she’d prefer her last curtain call by my hands.
RjCook’s is the author of The Road Behind Me and Dream Lover and Other Tales. Click HERE for info.