canned memories

An old can of mixed fruit.

This was on a shelf in my kitchen: An off brand, several years past the best by date, with touches of corrosion on the top. It used to sit on my counter with a wine glass standing on top of it, and now, I can’t throw it out. When my daughter came to pick up her daughter in the evening, she was just done work and would pause to have a glass of wine. I kept the glasses in their box so they didn’t break, but I kept one out for my daughter. So that it wouldn’t get lost or broken among the clutter on my counter, I stood it on top of the can. Easy to see, easy to grab. On days she wasn’t here, the glass remained. Then she stopped drinking the wine. Then she stopped coming here to get my granddaughter. The glass sat in it’s place for months, then I finally put it back in it’s box. The can, too, continued on, but eventually I put it back in the cupboard. When I pick it up, I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. It’s dawned on me that maybe there’s a hope that it’ll be needed again?

I believe that insight came on a walk I had with a dear friend. We took a turn through a department store and passed a sale table. There were a few interesting items and a pile of bedding in all sizes, with great prices. I scanned the pile briefly but didn’t see anything. Not my colors, I explained. You see, when my daughter was young she’d spend some of her Christmas holiday with me. We did the usual, but quite incidentally she had red sheets and I had green. For the holiday, I used one of her pillowcases and gave her one of mine so that we each had red and green pillows. I swapped the top, unfitted, sheet, too, so that we each had a red sheet and a green sheet. It’s been over 15 years since we’ve slept at the same place over Christmas. I still only buy red or green sheets. Just a couple years ago, my granddaughter and I would nap together in the afternoon. Her pillow was green and mine red. She insisted. And she still calls the green pillow hers. Again, do I hope I may need to swap sheets again? Maybe. Maybe it’s just the smile I have when I remember. Regardless, I’ll continue buying red or green sheets. And the can stays for a little longer.

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