in a twist of irony, the measured-computerized female voice on our voicemail the other day admonished us, “sorry. you did not reveal yourself to be human. goodbye.”
we are sitting in the emptied living room of my in-laws as we write. long grooves in the carpet reveal where the couch was and a few browned leaves lay in a trail of the shedding ivy that was moved yesterday. pictures are off the wall and the mirrors have been taken down. we sit at the counter on folding chairs from the shed out back.
all along the top of the mantel are shot glasses, part of columbus’ collection, the rest of which are on shelving downstairs or on top of the player piano in the family room. they read things like “green bay” or “maker’s mark” or “south dakota” or “heidelberg” or “cedar rapids, iowa” or “yosemite national park” or “krakow” or “utah shakespeare festival” or “ithaca college” or “chicago” or “estes park” or “florida” or “skagway”. over a hundred, there are too many to list. but they are a glimpse into a life – a human life – a timeline shared by others.
columbus went to some of these places, not all. but his beloved family and dear friends would bring him tiny glassware from wherever they roamed. their story became his story in the way that sharing stories works.
it would be a 100-act play to sit and listen to the narrative behind each of these memory shots; it would reveal times of travel and joy and yearning and the seeking of adventure. it would traverse across miles of decades; it would travel around the globe. it would be punctuated with laughter and sighs and maybe a few tears.
the thing i know – it would be rich with human-ness, rich with revelation, rich with love.