Behind the couch…

The carpet cleaners came and left and before they went they pulled the sectional couch away from the wall and uncovered a treasure trove of missing items among the cat hair, dust, and cobwebs that had partly filled the crack between the couch and wall.

There was a copy of Christian Courier that contained my Graveyards poem. I thought I had lost that copy forever, but there the poem was on page thirteen under the Artful Eye caption with Cathy Smith’s beaming visage smiling out to me. It reminded me how kind she has been to me and how much I will miss her as she moves on to what is next for her. She is a good editor and her suggestions for improvement make me a better writer than I am. I love reading her contributions on Voices and elsewhere and would love to come see her garden and visit her home up in Canada and meet the people and places that she has made come alive through her words.

There were lots of coins behind the couch. Dimes, nickels, pennies, and a few quarters. There was also a silver dollar. I’m not sure how it got there, but it looks like it came from a bag of coins my father and mother had left in a safe deposit box. It is fun to hold a coin in my hand that might once have been held by my father. Saving coins for another generation to possess is a beautiful offering of hope. Hoping the coin will continue to increase in value and help provide for another generation perhaps yet unborn is nice thinking and I can see my Dad taking some old coins and putting them in a bag and thinking that way.   It reminds me of the folded dollar bill I have in my wallet that was given to me by a Teen Challenge student who told me that every addict has a twenty dollar bill stuffed in their shoe so that they can always get one last fix if they desperately need one. He told me how good it felt to pull out the twenty knowing you could go get high one more time. He also said that his act of new found faith was to take the twenty out of his shoe and exchange it for twenty one dollar bills. He wanted to trust God and God’s people for everything going forward. He wanted to give twenty people who had helped him on his journey to Jesus one dollar each so that even if they lost everything else they would at least have a dollar left. He apologized for there only being one dollar, but told me he was too broke to give everybody a twenty and that God would grow the dollar and truly provide all the recipient needed just as God had met all his own needs by offering him Jesus. I liked finding that silver dollar.

Behind the couch the cleaners found the other half of a pair of pot holders. I always wondered what had happened to that pot holder. I like the other one a lot, and the colors were perfect for our kitchen. Kathy likes to keep potholders in a drawer by the stove, but I like to have a couple hanging on a hook on the side of the refrigerator where you can easily grab them when you need them. We compromised on the idea that we could hang this pair on a refrigerator hook since they went so well with the decor. But then one of them got lost and the misfit one joined its friends in the drawer. Perhaps I can rejoin the two and put them back on the hook, although Kathy has since rethought our kitchen theme and it is not likely the potholders will fit in any longer. Still, it was nice to have the pair back together. Before Mom ever broke her hip and moved into the assisted living facility, she started giving things away. It was a bit disconcerting one day when she asked what the Village needed for its kitchen and I laughed and told her that we were always losing towels and potholders. She collected some of both and put them in a box for me to give to the Village saying, “I don’t ever cook or bake anymore. I don’t need them and your church does.” It was a sweet gift and particularly so when she told me the stories behind each pair of potholders.  Maybe I’ll donate the reunited pair to the Village.

There were several ink pens and pencils. No big story there, but it is always nice to have more ink pens and pencils. Back when we lived in Phoenix early in our marriage I discovered what a hoarder I had married. Kathy is an ink pen magnet and she has drawers full of them. She worked swing shift for the Veterans Hospital back then and I was going to school and working days so we didn’t have a ton of time together. We were still working out our relationship and I found out she was always stealing my office supplies. I accused her of taking my pens and pencils and she denied it. I opened the desk drawer where she kept her stuff and it was full of ink pens some of which were mine. She brought me a plastic bag full of more pens from a stash she kept under the bed and said, “Here, if you need more pens use these.” On the side of each one of the black pens in the bag were the words, “Property of the United States Government – Do not remove from the premises under penalty of law.” You can’t trust your ink pens around Kathy and I’m sure my new found stash will soon disappear.

There was a mystery container behind the couch. A little black zippered box that contains odd electronic devices connected in some way to Bluetooth listening and speaking devices. It is odd because I don’t remember ever having had such a device and neither can anyone else in the family. Perhaps some guest in our house accidentally dropped it behind our couch. Or maybe one of my friends really works for the CIA and in a desperate attempt to hide their anonymity is now desperately trying to get a return invitation in order to pick up their specialized listening device that will ultimately help take down Putin and the Soviet empire or that will help us listen in to what is really going on in North Korea. My buddy, Denny Stimson, got a job working for the FBI as a file clerk when we were fresh out of high school and they had to do a background check on him and FBI agents came to our house in Phoenix and interviewed me about what I knew about Denny. It was pretty exciting. Guys in suits coming to the door and instead of asking for Mom, asking to speak to me. Denny got the job and he got a cool little badge that said FBI on it and when we went to the drag races over at Beeline Raceway (Saturday night at Beeline drag way! Bring your CAM-ER-A!) he would flash it at the gate and say, “These guys are with me.” and we’d get in for free and all pretend we were doing field work on a major case around fuel injected dragsters or some such thing. It is not a proud moment in my character development, but we got to see some awesome funny cars close up. That is the closest I’ve ever been to spy intrigue… Or is it?

There was a thank you note in an envelope stamped and ready to mail to my sister and brother in law thanking them for their donation to the Village. It has been several years since stamps were that cheap. I’m tempted to go ahead and mail it since it might spur my sister to be generous again. I enjoy writing letters and thank you notes and long posts for the web, but execution that actually results in things getting sent out to the post office is not my strong suit. You don’t want to put me in charge of the mail room. I love people with the gift of administration. I married one of them. They are awesomely cool to me. I am not one of them. If you give me something to mail it will probably end up behind the couch.

There were some bolts and screws behind the couch. Bolts and screw make me nervous. They came loose from somewhere and you never know when something is going to fall apart because of a missing screw. I’m a big man and I live in constant fear that the last bolt holding my chair together will fall out and I will die in the wreck. I’m not a handyman. Neither is my brother. We try to do household repairs in order to make our wives happy but instead we make horrible messes. Something goes wrong with a faucet or a toilet or an electrical outlet or some such thing and we end up making three trips to the hardware store and botching what needs to be done and then calling a repair person. It is embarrassing when the repair person says, “I don’t know who tried to fix this, but they sure made a mess.” I try to nod knowingly and cluck sympathetically and blame some vague former fix it person. By wife longs for me to fix things. The screws and bolts behind the couch remind me to be grateful for folks who can work with their hands and make things the way they are supposed to be.

I’m glad Matt from Tread Lightly Carpet Cleaning disconnected the sectional and moved it away from the wall. Matt is a good guy. He is the leader of the Blazing Edisons, a local band that is really, really good. They are not yet good enough to be able to leave the carpet cleaning business behind, but I enjoy their music. Early on when he was cleaning our carpets Matt asked about some paintings on our wall and I introduced him to my son, Derek, who was the painter and Matt asked Derek to do some work for the band. Derek developed an album cover and some street bills for them that advertised upcoming concerts. It was pretty cool. If you need your carpets cleaned give Matt a call. Ask him about his new album and maybe ask him if you can buy a copy when it is released. Anybody who helps uncover treasure should be rewarded.


Show 2 Comments


  1. Rod, some of those old pens probably don’t work. I’d try them at a warm temperature, on a piece of paper with one or two sheets of paper underneath, scribbling in circles for a minute or two to see if they transfer any ink to the paper with any sort of smoothness. And then throw away the ones that don’t work, unless they are legitimate collectors items used by the Wright Brothers.
    What do you mean by “ink pens”? What other kind of pens are there?
    I’m surprised that you said those things about your wife. I thought she was perfect–ha ha!

    • Rod Hugen

      Hog pens. Sheep pens. Watercolor pens. Do you want me to go on? 🙂

      Kathy is awesome. She is far from perfect.

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