Whitesburg KY
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Partly cloudy
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It’s in the middle drawer

Points East

The middle drawer of my desk is 32 inches wide, 28 inches long, and three inches deep. An inventory of the stuff squirreled away inside it would require several pages of small type. When Loretta is expecting company and wants the house to look neat and tidy, the first thing she does is pull the drawer open and anything weighing less than pound and not nailed down on the desktop gets raked into that drawer.

Need some reading glasses and can’t find the ones you were wearing five minutes ago? Open that drawer and take your pick of half a dozen pairs. Can’t find your pocketknife? No problem. Open the desk drawer and take a guess as to which one is the sharpest of the several scattered about inside it. Same for pocket watches. There are three of them but none works. Maybe I was saving them for parts before Mr. Parkinson came along? Suffice to say that I haven’t the dexterity to dismantle a pocket watch in over 10 years.

How ‘bout a genuine Scripto fountain pen and four tubes of what used to be ink that has turned into something that crunches when you squeeze the little, cigarette sized tubes? Do they even make that stuff anymore? Now there’s a great reason to get on eBay and buy something else I’ll never use. I’d bet big dollars there’s a seller in China who has fountain pen ink really, really cheap with free shipping if I don’t mind waiting until next summer to get it.

Here’s a pre-Ziplock sandwich bag crammed full of what used to be rubber bands but now they’re as stiff as dried spaghetti and break just as easily. Wonder what would happen if I boiled them? Would they regain their elasticity or come out looking like pasta? Don’t worry. I’m not going to try that, but they are, at least, something I’m willing to toss into the garbage can along with the ink cartridges. And, again, don’t worry. I’m not going to throw away the fountain pen because there’s no telling how much use I’ll get out of that thing after the slow boat from China gets here with fresh ink.

Okay, I’ve now tried four different colors among nine Sharpies and eight of them have tips harder and drier than carbon steel nails. I’m tossing the useless eight and putting the one that still works back in the drawer so it can age a few more years. Somebody might even use it. You never know.

Here are four American Flag “forever” postage stamps that have that lick ’em and stick ’em stuff on the back. How long has it been since they stopped making those? Stamps have been peel and stick for what seems like a very long time. I’m about afraid to lick one of these things but I just found four glue sticks and one of them is still sticky! I also have a letter that has to be mailed tomorrow, at which point I’ll know if “forever” has become extinct.

Notice, if you will, that I have not mentioned ballpoint pens. There’s not a single one in the drawer, dead or alive. If I bought a dozen ballpoint pens and put them in my desk at noon, they would all have disappeared by dark. I’d be willing to bet that I’ve acquired over 100 freebie pens from banks and board meetings over the last year alone. I have no idea where they are but I know, for sure, where they aren’t — in my desk drawer.

This could go on for days but I just found exactly what I was looking for with far less trouble than I expected. An envelope containing about 200 heirloom Dwarf Gray Sugar Pea seeds that a friend in Pike County sent to me last fall was what I needed most for Valentine’s Day. If Brother Andy shows up this week, we may plant them a week early while the weather is still in the mid 60s. There’s no telling what it’ll be like on the 14th. I don’t always plant peas on Valentine’s Day the way my elders did, but since I have the seed, I figure that rushing the season a few days won’t hurt them. It may be snowing on Valentine’s Day.

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