There are few moments in life equal to the satisfaction of having found a use for some junk that most people would have sent out with the trash years ago.
Key rings, broken-off doodads, extra pieces, the lone zip tie, camera film containers, stacks of thin business-card sized refrigerator magnets, a strip of twist ties, jingle bells, safety pins, bits of chain, a length of jute twine, eyedroppers, crayon stubs, washers, screws, and candy tins.
Who saves this junk?
These bits and pieces of life, separated from their useful whole, find their way to our pantry junk drawer. The junk nestles down among the universally accepted useful household items – screwdrivers, scissors, tape, ruler, batteries and glue. Each time the drawer is opened, some ancient speck of yester-useful tries to look just like the thing I need at that moment.
It is because that I often do find “the thing I need at that moment,” that I cannot bring myself to discard items from our junk drawer. Nor can I throw out orphan parts or pieces, because…you know…I might be able to use it someday. Into the junk drawer it goes.
We had a kitchen junk drawer when I was growing up, containing much of the same type of inventory. I loved to paw through that drawer – I saw treasure, not junk! When The Husband and I moved into our house twelve years ago, a junk drawer was immediately established. We now have more than a decade of accumulation, including items that have been waiting for more than a decade to become useful again.
The junk drawer is like the inside of my mind. Useful tools surrounded by unique scraps. Snippets of conversation, flashes of memory, a worn phrase from a long-ago read book, the image of a ploughed cornfield passing by outside a car window, someone’s laugh, a few notes of a song, the breath-catching of cold January, the buoyancy of salt water, the crack of a bat, the scratch in a throat, hot tears, a grandmother’s hug, a long kiss, a short goodbye.
Also, the humidity of Bourbon Street, the absolute silence of looking into the Grand Canyon, the sting of rain clouds enveloping a mountain summit, the emptying of a soul inside a Las Vegas casino, the worn steps at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, the singular odor of a New York subway, the deafening roar of a Fenway crowd, the sigh of an old dog when you finally settle in for the night…
Who saves this junk?