Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ratty Old Blankets

You might not guess it
but these
are my people.
They show up in
trucks and cars
on weekend mornings
from spring through fall
rain or shine
to sign in for a
bidding number
and position themselves
before the auctioneer
begins to call the sale.
I love
estate auctions
where you can find
anything from a nested set
of metal measuring cups
to a cardboard box
full of old Tinkertoys.
I'm nearer the
having-my-own-estate auction
stage of life
these days
many many fine weekends
in years gone by
I stood in rain
slogged through mud
baked in the sunshine
and squinted my eyes
against blowing dust
for the auctioneer
to get to things
which caught my eye.
I like old stuff.
I like used stuff.
I like stuff that had a life
before it met me.
Old stuff can tell you a story
if you listen really carefully.
I bought this ratty
quilt at an estate auction
maybe thirty years ago.
It was tucked into a stack
of unremarkable but cozy-warm, fun blankets
and was pretty much in perfect condition.
I bought the whole stack for five bucks
on a cold and rainy day in
rural Illinois.
My kids slept under the cozy-warms
we wrapped up in them
on winter nights
in front of the woodburning stove.
They served us well.
My quilt
full of memories.
worn threadbare
through years and years
of storytelling.
It's old and ratty now.
Hand-stitched on white
with so much care
by someone whose name
I've never known.
it's reached that perfect stage
something along the line
of the Skin Horse
who was loved so much
his fur rubbed off.
I adore ratty blankets
because they wrap you
in a story.
I think being wrapped
in a ratty old blanket
with a story
is the perfect way
to fall into
a really lovely sleep.

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