I took this photograph the night my Grandmother passed away. I was walking through her house and getting one last look at how she left her home. I knew her effects and the house would eventually change and i wanted to see it before it was altered. It was all about the smells, a napkin or two with lipstick, the radio station that was always on KRLD even though occasionally turned down, the staple products both edible and cosmetic and her imperfect yet systematic preferences of placement. It was all about these small things that were noticed by us at times but that were truly only in existence because of her will. I knew they would eventually slip away under new guard, regardless of reverence. Change is inevitable and the only place true preservation takes place is within us. At least i think that's right.
About the house though and more specifically, the kitchen. She always kept a cache of burn cream in the medicine cabinet and to this day she was one of the only people i know of who even knew what silvadene was. One time when i was 6 i stuck my hand in a bucket of hot coals that i thought were mere cold ashes. I learned what silvadene was that night too. She always kept a few hidden stashes of chocolate and i think it was one of her few tangible weaknesses, if you didn't count her family. She also always had a freezer full of soups and dishes she had made at some point prior and would pull one out to thaw when someone was ill or in need or maybe when she didn't feel like cooking. Those were still there too. With the blessings of a few and a disregard for the rest, i ate her last ever bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup a few days later. I ate it straight from the tupperware.
The best thing i found though were these notes. I wish i had kept one now that i think of it. These notes lived quietly under place mats on the kitchen table and there were lots of them. They came out from time to time to be clipped on the front door and to inform visitors of her wheres, whys and whens. There was one for the grocery store. One for the post office. One for a trip to Dallas. One simply labeled, "I'll be right back." I touched each one of these notes that she had written and understood that these were another small symptom of her knowing so much about life that i didn't and still don't. It also really spoke to her concern for her commitments and accountability to others. She generally knew what to expect from herself and wanted people to know the same i guess.
The notes had little to do with paper conservation and environment and much more to do with conservation of energy and time. Why write the same note over and over as the years go by when you can just write it once? She surely saved time in this way, even if it only stacked up to minutes. Time is important. The only measurable asset we have that is worth keeping up with i think. I want to use mine wisely. Some Friday nights i look back at the week and i see that i didn't. I want to be more functional like she was. I see that i'm still careless as hell and some Septembers this catches up with me. I want to avoid the struggles i experienced this week and yet i know that these struggles are essential to my becoming. I hate knowing that but it somehow keeps me from complete stasis. And i've got a lot of becoming to do before there are notes like this under my place mat. Hell, i don't even own place mats. At least not any that i bought.