LORD of the THINGS
“9 Blakely Way.” That was the address of our home back in 1957; the year I was born. No NW, SW or Southeast just, “9 Blakely Way.” We lived in a small housing project built from the 30’s to the 40’s which was on the outskirts of The Dalles Oregon. It was a time of paper boys and the milkman, yes and Service Stations with .25 cent a gallon gas. Common; was Mom charging groceries on a tab at the market and Dad working a couple of nights a week cleaning up the butcher shop to pay the bill.
Our home phone number was 6-9414; that’s right, just 5 digits, no area codes or mandatory prefixes. Looking back I can honestly say it was a simpler time. I was born the last of six children and I admit I was a bit of a momma’s boy. All of the others had a time when they were the baby, but it only lasted until the next uninvited child came along, but me, I didn’t have that problem. No one came after me…
This meant I spent a lot of time hanging with my Mother and her other stay at home mom friends. I was a curious sort in my pre-school years and would ask questions like,” Do trees have blood?”
I learned at a young age that there were treasures to be had if a boy would keep his eyes peeled and on the ground. It happened when I was walking the neighborhood. Something shiny caught my eye. It was a glorious silver dollar. It filled my hand out to the very edges of its span. It was embossed with stunning detail. Man it was beautiful. I wanted to keep it for ever!
Until later that day, when the older kid two doors down informed me that I could have his Nestles Chocolate can full of marbles in exchange for my object of delight; the silver dollar. I jumped at the deal and made it home to show my mom what great glassy jewels I had leveraged for a mere dollar. In the early 60’s a person could get a lot for a dollar and my mother being a sharp girl, pointed this out. She further instructed me to return the treasures and get the coin back. I did so reluctantly.
Upon returning home she loaded me into the car and we went to the market where I was unleashed on the candy section. I could truly see the wisdom in her actions and the events of that day only added to my awe of her position of greatness and knowledge of life.
Remembering this; from then on, when traveling by foot I always kept one eye on the ground. You never know what you might find. In my travels however the treasures seamed to be few and far between. Oh sure there were plenty of sticks, rocks and lizards to be had and I did revel in shinier, more magic ones. Sometimes my attention would be drawn to a particular stick or rock. I would pick them up and after surmising that they were of no particular worth and not possessing any magical powers. I would drop them back to the ground.
As I walked away I imagined the object pleading with me not to just leave them there. The stick would reason with me that by picking it up I had gotten it’s hopes up. Perhaps it had dreamed of coming home with me, maybe even finding a nice cozy place in my room on the headboard of my bed or in a dresser drawer.
Needless to say I was an easy mark and often fell pray to their pleadings. This also translated into a personal theory that objects may very well have feelings, perhaps objects could dream, long for a “Someday;” What if they could feel disappointment and pain like me? What if that rock I just tossed into the creek couldn’t swim? Maybe it was laying next to its Mother rock and because of me it may never see her again? This could get very complicated. What about my reckless shuffle across the field? Did I disrupt the lives of many a happy object? You’ve got to get a grip here Dukie!
OK, so let me think? Maybe objects do have feelings and maybe they don’t, I’m not sure. Many objects did seem to speak to me in their own way. But maybe that was just the imagination of a goofy little boy; who by the way sported an endless bad haircut?
Well at any rate I do know this; by looking at this world which is so bejeweled with endless objects of interest and delight; having an appreciation and reverence for that which was left here by the hand of God or fashioned by mankind, a person could develop a peculiar kinship with “Things.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of the guys whose a slave to his car or boat (I wish I had a boat). I don’t spend hours polishing and waxing anything. In fact it’s just the opposite; I need to take better care of the things I have. Instead of being enslaved by the objects of my life, I like to think of myself as their Master. Maybe even the Lord of what I possess, heh… maybe even, like… the lord of my things. That’s it! I am “The Lord of My Things. No wait, try this. “Lord of the Things”. I like it! I am “Lord of the Things”. More like a “Junk Whisperer,” really.
I want to believe the past few years of my artistic endeavors have reflected my close relationship with the objects of this realm. Thus far I have found it to be a natural and rewarding approach.
Have you listened…? Then heard the whisper…? If so you know what I’m talking about.