Resurrected things

What pops into your head when someone says, “resurrected things?” Initially, I think, uhh, Jeopardy category? Uh, … Alex Trebec. I glance at photos and tidbits that surround me. Trailer 63 at the Dana Strand Beach & Tennis Club. A piece of an old horseshoe that sits on my bookshelf above my desk. My mother’s childhood desk. Her first dictionary, published in, I kid you not, 1929. Marc’s grandma’s wooden skis.

It occurs to me that “things” don’t have to be objects. They can be concepts, emotions, dreams, habits, quests, blog topics. I flash back to my mbira blog posts. I flash back to the euphoric feeling of playing the mbira, a Zimbabwean musical instrument with metal tines on a hardwood soundboard, played by holding the board in the hands and plucking the tines with the thumbs. The mbira is supposed to allow its player to commune with the ancestors — like a phone to the spirits. And that doesn’t seem so hard to believe when you’re rhythmically plunking, adding your instrument’s voice to the ethereal, otherworldy chorus produced by fellow mbira players. I haven’t played in a long time. I’m not so musical; it’s not a family trait. My parents gave me piano lessons in second grade and I remember the day our whitewashed upright was delivered. I remember sitting at my classroom desk, counting the minutes before school ended and I could get home to the piano. All that schoolday, I sat with my fingers splayed on the desktop, imagining what it would be like to play those white and black keys.

I look at my hands in that position now, and I see my mother’s hands. It’s so odd to see her hands at the end of my noodle arms. I should say I like the looks of my hands, scars and lines included. I think it’s because I always found my mom’s hands so graceful, with their long fingers and lovely pink manicured nails at their practical length. I loved that she used a plastic dialing stick to dial the rotary telephones in our house. My favorite, the one into which I blabbed for hours with my friends, was an eggshell-white, wall-mounted phone. Strategically located, halfway into the kitchen, halfway into the breakfast room, and with a view of the backdoor, that phone was the nerve center of our house. A landline. A rotary dial.

Speaking of friends, I’ll end with thoughts on a really cool “Christmas in Motown” mixtape CD that my high school (and middle school) friend Kyle Wong recently sent to me. Through the mail, even. First of all, it makes me weepy thinking about this token of friendship. It’s one of those generous acts that ‘thank you’ doesn’t begin to express. Or, it begins to express, but then falls down — like in a spectacular Chevy Chase circa 1976, take out every object in the room kind of fall. So there’s the emotional significance. Then there’s the nostalgia. While CDs are still around, the concept of making a mixtape — personally curating a considered selection of music and physically recording it, that’s a resurrected thing. It’s a resurrected technology, with resurrected songs. And the gesture celebrates a resurrected friendship from a resurrected era in our lives. My husband just bought a new car to replace the one that we thought was such an environmentally friendly and efficient vehicle *cough*Volkswagen*cough*.

“Wow,” said Marc when he picked up the new car from the Subaru dealership. “It’s actually got a CD player.”

The dealer laughed. “Yeah,” he said. “I think this is the last year they’ll have these.”

We’re playing Kyle’s CD all over Kernville and Mammoth during the holiday weekend. We should all be so lucky as to sing along with Aretha while a corgi and a chihuahua in matching Christmas sweaters vie for spots in our laps.

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