Clutter and Vinegar

egg tree

The room is cluttered. Whatever you’re imagining right now after reading those words double it. Triple it. Okay, ready? The room is cluttered. Let’s begin with the egg tree. The egg tree is a holdover from my childhood. On the Western Maryland farm where I grew up Pussy Willow grew wild and we would break of branches of the strange furry flowered plant and place them in mason jars tightly rubber banded together. On the branches we would hang eggs that we had been blowing out the yolks and collecting for weeks. The eggs had been dipped in different mixtures of vinegar and dye which left them pastel colored. Easter smells like vinegar to me. I remember from childhood Sunday school lessons that Jesus on the cross had asked for water to sooth his parched throat and the Roman soldier had lifted a cloth wet with vinegar to his lips instead. Easter has smelled like vinegar for a long time. There are no Pussy Willow branches to be found in the city. Our urban egg tree is a scraggly affair. It looks like a mash up of the Blair Witch Project and a Charlie Brown holiday special.

The Easter egg tree sits on top of a turntable which sits on top of a country chic cabinet painted rustic green. Beside it is a shelf filled with 50 or 60 LPs. Most of them are old country & western records. The covers gleam of rhinestones. Mixed in among that hillbilly heaven is the occasional Stan Getz or Edith Piaf album that gets played late on Friday nights after returning from a night out or early on Saturday mornings after rising to scramble eggs and make coffee. They are silenced now by the weight of the Easter egg tree.

The remnants of a 3 year old are everywhere. Hours after he’s been tucked into his bed his presence lingers in the form of matchbox cars, six out of ten jacks scattered across the coffee table and reined in by bumper guards, an electric guitar cord uncoiled on the carpet that earlier in the day had ceased being what it was and begun life anew as a fire hose.

There are four remote controls. Each lay on a different surface. All are purposed for the TV, yet each solitary in their function. It’s maddening.

There are many books; Books for school, books for pleasure, picture books, reference books. There are books that have been read, are being read, will be read and will never be read. British people were once taxed on how many books they owned. If that were still so, I believe my small three person family’s taxes would be greatly imbalanced to most of my countrymen. A TV tax would even that score I imagine.

The kitchen counter is covered in spice. It’s a homemade concoction of flour, garlic salt, cinnamon, and sprinkles not fit for human (or otherwise) consumption made by a 3 year old who likes to cook alongside his dad. Some of it made it into his bowl.

Each night the clutter, while never defeated, is held at bay. We bail out the living room like a slowly sinking lifeboat and hope it floats for one more day.


About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
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3 Responses to Clutter and Vinegar

  1. auntmama says:

    Easter smells of vinegar and I smashed mama’s tree. Thank goodness it all gets picked up in time for Christmas-tho I still Have lights outside and no small one to blame. Nice post.

  2. nitya says:

    Love the way you write and I remember how totally disappointed I was when I found out they were just chicken eggs! We were poor and fortunately, had a few chickens and eggs were a huge part of our daily diet. Not matter how beautiful – they were still from chickens. We longed for the REAL ones we drooled over in pictures.

  3. Bruce says:

    Beautifully written, a joy to read.

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