So, that’s how the scroll saw came to live in the computer room closet.
Jeff read the manual (sort of), but that’s as far as he got. His legs were giving out, and we had other things to concentrate on. I also made him promise not to use it for the first time when I wasn’t home. If he could break a toe while shaving his head… sawing surely needed to be supervised.
And that’s how the scroll saw ended up in the 2010, house sold, moving sale. It didn’t make it to a table until the second day, because I had imagined it would be harder to unearth from that over-stuffed closet. I marked it at $50 thinking that’d be a good starting amount. I didn’t have the box or the manual, but it was brand-new, never used and maybe someone would know what to do with it.
A little after 3 PM on the last day, a young couple came in. “Hmm,” the husband commented. “Honey? Look at this!”
“What is it?” she asked.
“A scroll saw, just like the one I rented last week for $85.00. I could buy this one and we’d never have to rent one again!”
“Oh,” she considered, then continued. “I just don’t think we can afford that right now, honey,” as she moved on to look at other items.
The fellow just stood there mesmerized.
Knowing I’d never use and not wanting to struggle it back into the closet or move it to Ann Arbor, I whispered to my gregarious friend, “He can have it for $35.00.”
Because she’s the outgoing one who has no problem dickering with yard salers or yard sale customers I gave her the appropriate lenience to do as she pleased.
From her perch near the cashbox, she announced the offer loudly, adding the key phrase, “It’s never been used!”
That’s when I heard it. The whimper.
I laughed out a bark, and leaned closer to my cohort. “That’s the exact same sound Jeff made when we bought that thing!”
He looked at his wife beseechingly and she slowly nodded her approval. As he stood there holding the saw, he told us that he and his wife were renovating their home. “Thank you so much. Thank you so much,” he kept repeating.
“Never been used,” my friend repeated as they headed-out. “Her husband passed!” she called after him, stopping them on the threshold of exiting.
I really thought that man was going to cry as he turned to stare at me. “It will get put to good use,” he answered quivering. “I promise it will get used.”
I may have lost money on that deal, but I gained another blessed insight into the non-coincidences of GOD’s careful plans.
What was that scroll saw worth? $215.00, $115, $62.50, $50.oo or $35.00?
Making Jeff happy, which made me happy, which made that family happy = sacredly priceless.
Quote for the Week:
One more thing, October 6, 2020, my friend, cohort and kindred soul, Paula, passed away.
At first I was like, “Really, Paula? Today?”
But, then, I let go a chuckle-sob, thanking her for not giving me a different date to commemorate.
If it a day had to suck, anyway, it might as well have been that one.
There were obviously more cards from Jeff, but those were the ones I kept.
There were obviously cards going the other way, too – from me to Jeff. Two at a time. Always, one funny and one serious.
When it came time to move out of our home, I pared down. I waded through our shared stacks. I discarded most of the me-to-him. My thought process was that he would never be reading them again, so there was no point in keeping them. However, I found two of them in the card box, amongst the him-to-me.
For our first anniversary, I handmade the serious one. It was just one simple sheet of plain red cardstock, plainly folded in half. The only embellishment added was a left-over gold foil, double-heart seal we’d used on our wedding invitations.
I wanted the message to stand on its own. The outside read, “I meant it when I said….” On the inside, I’d re-printed the vocal vows I made to Jeff on our wedding day.
I do not know which anniversary the second card was for. We only celebrated four of those, so it was either the second or the third or the fourth. Store-bought, it reminds me of the snowman card; same subject. Another way to answer to Jeff’s rote retort, “I don’t know why.”
The last two cards I saved from Jeff were life lessons for me. The subjects aren’t all that happy.
The first one came from an incident where I was once again harping about his health and bad habits and chewing tobacco. Jeff stood on one side of the bed; I was on the other side. “You must not love me very much,” I’d snarked. “I’m trying,” he mumbled back. I shouted, “Stop TRYING and just do it!”
” I’M … TRYING…” he snapped back at ramped up volume. Stomping his feet and throwing his arms wide for exclamation, his eyes filled with frustration and failure.
That look broke my heart. He wasn’t a failure. He was just unfairly up against some highly stacked odds. I knew no matter how much I nagged, Jeff quiting the killing tobacco wasn’t going to make him ‘get better.’
I just couldn’t understand why he’d choose to exacerbate and accelerate with vile chew. Hindsight, I know now it wouldn’t have mattered. We’d have argued a lot less if I’d realized that, then.
“Come sit with me,” I said. We sat on our bed, and held onto each other. “I don’t want you to die,” I whispered. “You wouldn’t be so lucky,” he teased, with quiet laugh. “I’m gonna live ’til I’m 80. You’ll see – I’m gonna be a grumpy ol’ man, just like my Dad.”
As unusual as it was for Jeff to have the last word in an argument, that was the end of that. He’d emphatically expressed he was trying, so I backed-off and let it drop.
Three days later, he handed me a card.
Quote for the Week:
That time when someone said it better; perfectly.