Thursday, September 3, 2009

Returning to the familiar

It's summertime, at least technically. The trees are green and daytime temps rise into the 80s.

According to my personal calendar, however, September brings autumn. Most important, Saturday will usher-in the best season of all: Ohio State football season.

For 48 years -- since I was five, if you're keeping score -- I've bled Scarlet and Gray, through national championships and conference futility. Aside from my given name, cheering for my beloved Buckeyes is the longest continuous thread in the fabric of my life.

It doesn't get more familiar than that. At a time when I seem to be immersed in the unfamiliar, I welcome the return of a constant.

Unless I find tickets under my pillow Saturday morning, I won't be in The 'Shoe for the game against Navy. And with money tight in the KintlaLake household, we may not even venture down to campus for the traditional tailgating.

I suspect that we'll have the boom box tuned to the game while we're sorting through garage-sale goods out in the barn -- and that's ok, because radio broadcasts planted the first seeds of my fanaticism way back when.

Speaking of our garage sale, we've had to push it back a few weeks. Life, especially the events of a few weeks ago, got in the way of our preparations, so adjusting our plans was the right thing to do.

I have no idea how four people who already have filled four rooms and a 10-by-30 storage unit still can have so much stuff to sell -- toys and tools, furniture and folderol, it's positively overwhelming.

The sorting is at once maddening and therapeutic. Opening box upon bag upon box, everything I come across triggers memories. Each item once had a purpose or is associated with an occasion.

It's all familiar.

Take, for example, a canvas briefcase I found. Once black as coal, 15 years of dragging it to work and back left it tattered and gray -- and yet intact and still solid as iron.

"Wow, you probably could get ten bucks for that," my wife suggested with a smile.

Not a chance. Hell, there's more character in that old satchel than in most people I meet -- it stays.

Keep what's familiar. Hold on to the things that last.

Even with much sorting left to do, that's good practice, I think.