Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Bizarre Event Last Fall

I have been kind of on a roll with the bizarre little incidents in my life, which made me recall one last fall.

It began with a phone call from Aunt Susie.  "Do you need bookshelves?"

Welllll, yes!

Susie had been at McDonalds in Junction City and being the friendly person she is she smiled and said hello when she walked past a middle-aged man seated with two younger men.

As I recall, the older man approached her later and said she just seemed so nice and all, that he's wondering if she could use some household items.  It turned out he was from California and had come to Harrisburg with a son and a nephew to dispose of his deceased
 aunt's things.  Susie mentioned Milford's health troubles, and the man offered his aunt's electric recliner.

You know, the kind that lifts up kind of like a dump truck to help an older/infirm person get up.

I think the guy's name was Steve, and he said the chair is practically brand new, and she can just have it.

He told her of more things in the house that they would be happy to give away to anyone who wanted them, and Susie thought of me.

So Susie and I drove into Harrisburg in the van and Susie directed me to the house.

Steve was middle-aged, as I said, kind of short, with a graying beard.  He was also from California, as mentioned, and worked in the wine industry, which is my way of saying that he had a different way about him than the grass farmers I am used to, more artsy and with a few more feelings, illustrated by the fact that in the middle of the conversation about his dead aunt and this houseful of stuff, he looked at me and said, "You know, you are just a beautiful woman.  I just wanted to tell you that."

Poor Susie.  He didn't say a word about her.

I said, "Thank you."

We went into the house and down the hall.  The aunt had moved there from Las Vegas in 1980, I think, and still hadn't unpacked all her boxes.  You could see them sitting around, big and square, with a faded Mayflower Moving Company design on the side.  The aunt also like to shop, and to watch the Shopping Channel, and as she got older she would
order more and more of what she already had.

The house looked full, and outside a 16-foot dumpster was full, and they had taken eight pickup loads to Goodwill.

Steve with his gentle voice took us down the hall to show us the bookshelves in a back bedroom stuffed full of old-lady-with-dementia stuff.

He looked at me and said, "You know, you are just such a beautiful lady, I'm going to play you a song."

He reached past a limp curtain into a stuffed closet and pulled out a recorder, one of those plastic fluty things that children sometimes use in music class.  He looked at me with his California wine-maker in-touch-with-his-feelings eyes and played "Annie's Song," that sweet John Denver melody that makes you think of waving fields of sunflowers and sad walks in the meadow.

Then he put the recorder back in the closet and I said Thank you and Susie just smiled and we talked about how to get the shelves out to the van and his son and nephew hauled them out for us.

He found out we have six children so he filled a Mayflower box with the aunt's canned goods and dried beans and such.

I also snagged an ancient gift box with two lacy handkerchiefs which I gave to Emily for Christmas, irreverently labeling them "from TDL."  The Dead Lady.

So now we refer to the stash of canned food in the pantry as "TDL's stuff."

I still am not sure what to make of that completely bizarre episode, standing in that clutter and having this stranger play Annie's Song to me.  You have to understand that I have never in my life been someone who got attention for her looks, not even as a young woman, and things have gone south since then.  My husband says nice things about how I look but I think the Lord has blinded his eyes, in my favor.

So I don't really have a slot in my brain to file an episode like this or a sensible explanation for what it was all about and why that recorder was right there, within reach, just behind the old curtain.

But then, Susie said the recliner wasn't exactly brand new either.


  1. Well, Dorcas, I think you are a beautiful lady. :-). And I have seen you in person, at a women's retreat where you spoke...
    So there. But I agree with you about the incident being a bit bizarre, it all sounding like it came out of a storybook or something. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. The stuff of my dreams! :) HA! :) -PC in VA

  3. Maybe his eyes perceived beauty from your soul glowing on your countenance. --LRM

  4. Love Susie's subtle jab...☺

    There is no woman so blessed as those of us who have voluntarily blind husbands!

  5. Love this post. Love YOU.

  6. Love it! This story sounds a lot like some of the odd things that happen to me--these things happen when a person is ready and willing to step out of the ordinary and into the adventure. Sounds like Aunt Susie is an adventurer, too. There are many things about you that struck that recorder-playing-man as beautiful.

  7. oh, you tell such a good story!!! This is hilarious and poignant, the best kind of story.

    When my mom was plain when I was a little girl, she always explained to me that beauty is from inside, your kindness and love and the Holy Spirit. That guy, I'm sure, sensed your beautiful spirit, but didn't know how else to compliment it!

  8. I just love reading your stories!

  9. I nearly wrote anonymously: "It does seem a bit odd.-TDL". But then I remembered that my mother has taught me better. So I didn't. :) Your writing style is so fun! :)