Social Security and Duraflame Logs…


For the last year, every day that I walk in and out of my garage, I pass this Duraflame log that belonged to my mother. The hilarious part is that this log is probably 15 years old and rotting to the core, sawdust dancing around the base of the steps leading to my house. Over the years, my Mom was known to start many fires in her fireplace with Duraflame logs, but this log is different. It’s special. It had an entirely different purpose. This log sat housed in the trunk of my mom’s car for the past 15 years until I sold the car for a dollar to my cousin’s son.

You might ask why this log was in the trunk. Well, it wasn’t alone, that was for sure. There were also several flashlights, wood for a fire, cans of soup and vegetables, several blankets, a shovel and snow boots dating back to at least 1972; the year I was born. When I asked my mom through the years why she kept all this crap in her car she’d reply, as if I was a complete imbecile, “uh, in case my car breaks down and I’m forced to sleep outside all night or several days.”

My mother never drove more than five to ten miles max; all within the city limits of Indianapolis.

After her death, I found note upon note about her upcoming 65th birthday along with applications for Medicare and Social Security. The reality is, that day just never came. I also found notes about what to do if the furnace dies or if the basement floods again, which I actually think it’s been doing for several weeks. Notes about where to find her will, although I couldn’t find it. Notes about the title to the house, the car, whatever she could write a note about she did. I’m reminded now about a time when she had my ex fix her stereo, and by fix I mean how to play the record player versus the radio. As he began to explain the two different buttons that one would push for these options, she ran into the room and came back with paper and pen. “Let me take notes so I know how to do it when I’m alone.”

Every last one of those notes has gone into the trash. She lived her life in fear of what could or would happen without enjoying today and all of the wondrous things going on in our lives at this very moment. Like the light bulb that keeps flashing on and off in my kitchen, or the laundry that needs to be folded, or the movie I haven’t watched and is a month overdue to Blockbuster…Whatever; it just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t. And I fall into this trap so easily, finding myself bogged down with Duraflame logs and snow boots of my own worries when in reality; I need to calm myself down and just enjoy life a little bit more. Don’t we all?

But, the Duraflame log still sits there rotting. Maybe as a reminder, or maybe I’m just too lazy. Yeah, that’s probably it. I’ll clean it up one of these days. Let me go write myself a note so I remember…Awwwww…who cares! We’re on borrowed time as it is, right?…


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