Remembering people after their demise is especially difficult when you really don’t know them at all. When I heard of a woman’s departure from living, I did remember one specific item…her basement. It was one of the worst days of my life.
Tom: He’s my brother and a bonafide master of dictating decisions for others even if it may end up with you having four railroads with his Broadway and Park Avenue. He was a Monopoly bully.
Shayne: A Viet Nam War Vet who wished to be no part of this mission in Spokane, Wa. Yet, he followed Tom’s orders.
Norm: An accomplished high school wrestler with a degree in strength, intelligence and generosity.
Me: Just a pawn in the game of Tom’s life.
Receiving a call from Tom on a Saturday, it was one of those many reasons when you make the poor decision of answering the call.
“What are you doing today?” Not having my rolodex of excuses, I replied with a feeble, “Not much. Maybe watching some college..(interrupted almost immediately by my brother, “Good, so you can help us.”
“Help who do what?”
“We need to move a freezer for someone. It will take about ten minutes.”
“Ok. Whose freezer?”
“Oh, you know her. Elenore.”
“Elenor Roosevelt? I know of her.”
“No. Tracy and Mike’s grandmother.”
Tracy and Mike were friends of ours, but I didn’t know Elenor at all unless knowing someone was witnessing her in the stands watching us play baseball. I still thought ten minutes couldn’t be too much trouble. This is before logic and reasoning skills were still in the premature levels of my tiny brain. I’ve since learned to multiply numbers practically when it comes to helping those in need. Ten minutes turned into six hundred minutes. That’s ten hours.
Tom picked me up. Tracy and Mike had other obligations, so it was, Tom, Mike and Tracy’s step dad, Shayne, and Norm. This should be easy.
Entering Tom’s truck, I asked, “So where do they live?”
“It’s on the North Side.” Well, that eliminated the ten minutes because we lived, on a Saturday, at least thirty minutes away. I then developed a hatred for child proof locks. So, I was indeed in for a treasure chest filled with surprisies including no air conditioning in the car.
Thirty five minutes later, we arrived to the house. Shayne was on time, Norm was on time…so at least the moving should be simple. Not so fast. I began asking logical questions to Tom. “Where’s the freezer?”
“In the basement.”
“I thought this was a one story house.”
“So did I.”
“You didn’t ask? Seems like a pretty small house.”
The house was quite small. The staircase was smaller. After walking down the staircase and greeting the freezer, it was clear the house was built around the freezer. And, the freezer looked bigger than the Ark of the Covenant.
The basement didn’t have snakes. It also didn’t have a hand truck, an elevator or a Star Trek, “beam this freezer up” device.
Once there, and also greeting Eleanor, a very lovely person, there was no choice. We needed to get this freezer out of their house. I just wish I would have known why at the time.
Since the house was so small, and the freezer so large, I did have some thoughts about the simplest way to extract the freezer without anyone sweating too much. Let’s blow the house up, with Elenor in safe distance, so we can just carry the freezer out with no complications. Dealing with the staircase just seemed unreasonable, much like my prior idea.
Step one A: (These instructions are written in English. Since we had a Viet Nam vet ordering us around, I wish the instructions were written differently, say, Gaelic)
Step one B: Disassemble Freezer.
Step 2: Use profanity while disassembling freezer.
Step 3: Thaw Freezer before carrying it up a flight of stairs.
Step 4. Continue profanity to elevate testosterone level so you can proceed to the next step.
Step 5: Disassemble banisters from staircase trying to be patient with a former Marine shouting orders.
Step 6: Lock former Marine in nearest bathroom.
Step 7: Squeeze enormous monolith up one flight of stairs without fracturing any ribs.
Step 8: Refuse medical attention upon arrival of the first floor unless the attention is alcohol.
There was no step nine.
jWe did complete our mission. Beers followed for another ten hours.
I’d like to say this was a giant fish story, the freezer representing Jaws, maintaining frozen meats, vegetables, TV dinners, and Swansons chicken pot pies. But I Can’t. It was a story. Just a story I wish Enenore could have stuck around to read. From what I’ve read, Chuckling is allowed in heaven.