Wish I’d Saved Those Dead Bodies

I open the drawer to a pile of dead bodies—naked GI Joe and his headless pal, Ken, with his pants around his knees. Small plastic green soldiers had been flung willy-nilly into the drawer’s mass grave. Their weapons, swords and shields, were buried with them, $_3just like their human predecessors in the ancient world. I had not opened my low-slung coffee table drawers since my grandchildren stopped overnighting several years ago. I kept them in tact as a mini-shrine to time standing still.

How I yearn for those little boys to come flying through the door one more time, go straight to the coffee table, plop down on the floor and do battle on the table top with their action figures.

In another drawer I discover my granddaughter’s mini stuffed bear dressed like Betsy Ross, her hat half chewed up by one of my now-dead Scotties; a tiny red plastic car from Monopoly Junior; and, three red plastic cups in the shape of Shriners’ hats. I reach to the back of the drawer and feel around for the little monkey that goes with the cups. All three grandchildren loved this old-fashioned shell game. They set the three hats on the table top, hid the monkey under one and spirited the hats round and round, in and out. I would guess which hat hid the monkey. I always got it wrong. One of them would jump eff347a9d7e47ddeb8669a526ce39fbain to help me, their old grandmother with her limited sense of place. Another would whisper, “pick the left one” knowing the hat on the left was empty. They thought juking me was hilarious. I did too, but for different reasons—my delight was simpler: I loved hearing them laugh.

Perhaps the shell-game scammers on the L trains started with the Shriner monkeys when they were kids. Chicago visitors huddle with their suitcases on the O’Hare Blue Line, get sucked in, throw their dollars down, win once, then lose over and over. The scammer fools them like my grandchildren fooled me. And they all laugh too.

I clean out the drawers and throw all the bits and pieces of remembered joy down the garbage chute. I disinfect the coffee table as if it were a crime scene. This is what we do, after all. Clean things out. Throw them away. To have space for more stuff. I don’t need more space though. If I can’t hang it on the wall, wear it or stuff it into my bookcase, out it goes. So now I have two empty compartments in my small apartment I’ve no use for. Oh, I could store little Christmas ornaments there, but I already have a place for those. One drawer is a perfect place for the two TV remote controllers I all of a sudden need. But I’d never remember I put them there.

I really wish I’d saved that monkey shell game.

For now, these drawers of time past remain empty.

9 thoughts on “Wish I’d Saved Those Dead Bodies

  1. Der Regan,
    One thing you learn as we age is a sense of loss. It’s amazing how strong it becomes as we age.
    Have a wonderful and healthy new year!
    Kathleen Moyer

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Regan. Playing catch-up reading this cold morning with a cup of hot coffee.
    Sent this message to the wrong address just now so I’m giving someone else a thank you also but tis the season, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Regan. I always enjoy your essays. Got behind in my reading and just came across this one. Should be doing yoga with a friend, but taking it easy with coffee and catch-up this cold December morning. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I wish your drawers still housed your grandchildren’s toys but your heart & memories are still full! I loved this story Regan. 💕


  5. You did a great job with Beth’s assignment. I liked how you brought your grandchildren’s world and the real world together. I have similar drawers in my coffee table.


  6. Love, love, love this story! Hope you’re doing great! This is going to be a crazy month! Hope we can get together!

    Sent from my iPhone (312)787-3534 cell



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