This Farm Note is from the archives, before I began to regularly post on the blog. The Farm Notes began in 1999 and were shared for those years with a group of friends and family. Over the coming year I will post periodically from those archived “Notes.”
As a kid I always had a fascination with the junk drawer in the kitchen. Every house has one, the drawer that contains the detritus of a family’s life. Ours contained a snakebite kit and French cuff links, leaking batteries and shoelaces. I’d pull the drawer out and sift through the collected family trash for hours. Where did that rattlesnake rattle come from…?
My junk drawer at my desk contains the accumulations of 50 years—an archeology of moods, fads, interests and confusions that still fascinates me today.
- My passport: moustache, glasses and curly hair hanging down past my shoulders … issue date 1989.
- Four rubber stamps. Two for my old bookstore, The Printer’s Mark. One seldom used PAID stamp. And a stamp from a left-wing labor group, when I served as the national treasurer for a couple of years.
- Three decks of playing cards. The first has the Confederate battle flag emblazoned on the cover. The second has a portrait of George Jones on each card. The third has a different mushroom on each playing card (the nine of hearts is the “horse mushroom”.)
- Pocket Guides to the identification of first editions and points of issue.
- The quotable Churchill: “He is a sheep in sheep’s clothing.”
- A notebook of scribbled aphorisms: “The siren call of thinking you have something to say.” Hmmm?
- A weather radio, lozenges, three pairs of sunglasses and my old Buck knife.
- Photos of my nephew, Gavin’s birthday party.
- A tin of McBaren’s tobacco, a Peterson pipe, a tamper, a cigar case, a full tin of Panther cigars, a rolling machine and something called a one-hitter.
- Judas Priest, Scorpions and Iron Maiden concert pins from my ill-spent youth.
- Large, loose horse teeth.
- Art gum and pencils.
- A compass.
- My original bookplate, which Cindy designed for a long ago Christmas present.
- The business card Cindy used for her Border collie training business.
- Goose leg bands and a duck call.
- A telescope sighting scope and extra lenses.
- A pewter pipe tamper designed by Ben Franklin with a somewhat naughty theme.
- A pewter rendition of the Confederate state seal.
- A Minnie ball.
- Leather buttons to an old overcoat long devoured by generations of East Tennessee moths.
- And, of course, leaking batteries and a snakebite kit.