Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The boxes were full of letters, and mice

For two days I have been sorting through Red's boxes, with another friend. He rented a storage locker, and piled it full of what was needed, what might be needed, what might be precious. Boxes of books, many from my shop's free table; boxes of letters, boxes of clothes. And mice. We found three tiny ones and put them, in their nest, gently to the side, hoping their mother will return and move them to safety. In our time of grief we didn't want any more death.
Red was a present, unique soul. Born in Brooklyn, traveled all over. He helped found free kitchens wherever he went, and was often on the front line of demonstrations all over the country, with his flaming hair and his bright blue eyes. In the boxes we found photos of Rachel Corrie, the young woman from up north who died in Palestine. I remember how grieved Red was by her death.
And what do you do with a lifetime of shreds and pieces? We will be giving away a lot of Red's things at the memorial service, for this is what his mother wanted us to do. Little treasures, funny things, have been piled into a special box for his family. And photos.
I left the store in chaos today, my partner in charge, my dogs bereft. But it isn't an ordinary time.
And tonight, at 10 to 8, an earthquake shook our ground. The center was off in the ocean. No one was surprised.


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