Sweet memories

Dear Martin,

This past weekend I tackled the garage – again. I’ve been living with, pushing aside, stepping over, the remainders and reminders of your automotive obsession for almost a year now, and I needed to reclaim the space.

I’ve put together a decent set of tools for myself from all the ones I found; I’ve cleaned and sorted the hundreds of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers that you had bought, used, and misplaced over the years; and I’ve saved those things that I’m not emotionally ready to let go of yet, even though I know I’ll never use them. But this week, it was time to actually donate some things that others will be able to use and appreciate. So I packed things up, and Addison came over to lift and carry, and off we went to ReStore. They were happy to have everything we delivered, and I’m happy to have some space in the garage.

I have one box that I intend to drop off in the dead of night at AutoZone with a big “FREE” sign on it – car parts and automotive tools that none of us can use, but someone can, I’m sure. And free is always a good price!

I actually handled it all pretty well until I got to the two big boxes of nuts, bolts, screws, and washers, and then I lost it. I could see you, sitting on the floor of the garage, sorting and organizing, each kind in its own compartment. There were so many different sizes and shapes; you could have put together anything at all! I kept the washers – I’m always looking for a washer for something – but the screws, nuts, bolts, all went into a box to be given away. It made me sad to think of you sitting and sorting and then never having the chance to use them.

While I was doing all of this cleaning out and organizing, I was remembering you and recalling all of the words that you added to our family’s vocabulary. Why was that what came to mind? I don’t know. It’s funny the things I think of, the odd little things I remember at odd times, so I will remind you and anyone who might read this of the small ways you changed us and the words we use all these years later.

French fries were “sa-sas,” later changed by Jason to “rah-rahs.” Peep-bo-be for peanut butter; an elevator was avivila; Winnie-the-Pooh was Wee-po-po – which led to your dad’s nickname for you of “Wee-po.” Jason and I have laughed over “berry bows” (who knows where that came from!), and “buh-lup buh-lup” for the toll booth. And, of course, there’s your famous swear word “Sandana,” said with feeling, and which we finally translated as son of a bitch. We just let you say it since only we knew and it seemed to ease your frustrations. Perhaps, though, my favorite memory of that type was you listening to your dad speaking Spanish to Grandma Ana on the phone, and mimicking him by saying “bleeka-bleeka-bleeka,” quite convinced you were speaking Spanish, too!

I love you, honey, and I love the memories I have of you. I’m just so sorry we didn’t have time to make more of them.


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