Over the years, my grandparents' barn and woodshop became less "functioning workshop" and more "storage unit" for the vast amount of STUFF an American Family acquires and outgrows.
One of my jobs last week was to go through this STUFF for my grandmother and sort it out a little, remember what was where, etc.
Before he died, my grandfather had walled in and partitioned off one room in the back of the shop for especially precious treasures. When I opened the door to that room last week, I was confronted with them. Boxes.
Layer after layer, stack after stack. Toys, dolls, puzzles, more toys. And the books, my gosh, just ten-ton box after box marked in my grandfather's careful handwriting: LACYS BOOKS. Over and over and over. In the handwriting of a man who often misspelled whatever he was labeling because he had to quit school.
As I pulled the unending walls of boxes down, I was so astonished. So appalled and so ashamed of this absolute glut of things my sister and I certainly never deserved, bought by people who for years lived in a house with a dirt floor.
And after the 4th or 5th box of books alone, I just stood there and cried. We had so much. They gave us so much. I came out of the dusty shop and found my grandmother and told her now I understood, now I realized how much they did for us. So much. Too much. More than we deserved, more than I deserve now.