Memento Mori

So today I was browsing the net and found out that, Tara, yet another lovely knitter from Team Cast Off has a blog, which makes me happy. (Yes, I know I am an uber-nerd, but I get a huge kick out of seeing what my knitting friends are up to online.) Anyway, while I was reading some of the many entries that I’ve missed out on, I came upon this funny story about Tara’s neverending roll of plastic wrap, and it reminded me of a story which is kind of knitting related, but mostly just weird.

I was at the laundromat, waiting on two weeks worth of laundry, knitting on my purple cardigan, when I noticed that two people, an older man and woman, that I kind of recognized. The woman I remembered for sure, as a lady who used to come to the gas station that I used to work at, and while I couldn’t place the man, it was obvious that they were a couple. The woman always wears really conservative clothes, long skirts and endless hair tied up in a bun, and the man was wearing what appeared to be a kind of dirty mechanic uniform or something. I am always running into my former customers and I usually don’t bother to greet them, since I think it would be a little weird to say, "Hi, I worked at a gas station where you bought gas and I remember you!" So I just kept working on the cardigan.

After a few minutes passed by, I kept noticing that the people kept looking at me sideways, like they were trying to place me too. Eventually, the man got up, walked over to me, and said,
"You’re that little Holly girl that used to live across the street from us!" I pretended to remember this, even though I totally had no clue what he was talking about.
"Um, yeah, that’s me! How have you folks been?" I asked. Small talk ensued.

A slight break in the story to provide some background info. My father died suddenly of a heart attack in the fall of 1999. He worked in a factory where the made printing cylinders that was somehow in cahoots with Reynolds, so growing up we always had these enormous rolls of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, etc. He was the kind of person who would strike up a conversation with just about anybody, so everyone in our neighborhood knew him. Shortly after he died, we moved into a new house a few miles away. Back to the story.

So as the small talk is kind of winding down, the man says,
"We sure did like your Dad, and we were so sorry when he passed away. It was really a tragedy." So I gave the standard replies, "Thank you," and "I still miss him, but life goes on," you know, the kind of thing you say when people you barely know offer you sympathy. You appreciate it and all, but no big deal. Now here’s the weird part. The man said,,
"When y’all moved out of that house, your mother gave us a box full of aluminum foil, and you know, we are still using that foil to this day!"
Then they both got these really rapt, serious appreciative expressions on their faces, and started telling me all about the foil, how they just treasure it so much, and how much money its saved them over the years, and how they really try to save the heavy duty foil for "special occasions", and on, and on. This goes on for probably 10 minutes.

Just picture me, standing in the laundromat with people I only have the most casual acquaintance with, while they are in the throes of ecstasy over a box full of huge rolls of foil.

It was hands down the most surreal experience of my adult life.

I think what I learned from the whole thing was that the things you end up being remembered for when you die are hardly ever "big" things, contributions to society or whatever. My dad had a lot of great qualities, but he didn’t really do anything in his life that most people would consider outstanding or important. And yet for the last 6 years, these people have remembered him every time they tore off a sheet of aluminum foil. It’s kind of touching, in a weird, creepy, foil fetish kind of way.


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