Breland: Light a candle only after finding a match

Published 12:33 pm Friday, December 17, 2021

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Holding a sweet-smelling candle from the Christmas decorations, I opened the junk drawer in the kitchen looking for a match. Nothing makes the house smell better than one of those pretty candles we sometimes stash away and never use.

“Looking” was not the proper word to use about that drawer. Such a lot of stuff! How long has it been since it was cleaned?

Some people don’t confess about junk drawers, they might call it something else. It is a place where you put little things that you don’t know what else to do with. It is a storage place that seems to accumulate various items from practically anywhere!

With the lack of grip being what it is in my hands, I can’t use one of those quick-lighter things that opens and lights with a flick! I need a match! Surely some matches are here somewhere!

I turned over packages of tape, a wad of string, instruction manuals for appliances, a grinding stone, an extension cord, birthday candles, clothespins, a manicure kit and even an old harmonica amid the other various junk items “stored” there. Amazing how much that drawer will hold! So far, no matches.

I pulled open the drawer next to the junk drawer and ran into more stuff. The original junk drawer had expanded into two!

There I found stacks of plastic tableware in packages never used from former take-out lunches, but too good to throw away; more tape, Sharpie pens and other pens, (wonder if those still work), pencils of every size and color, more clothespins and all sizes of batteries, most unpackaged.

Amazingly, another grinding stone for sharpening knives and I found my electric knife, which has been missing for some time. And lots of odd little things!

How does this explosion of things stored in junk drawers happen? You have to clean it out once in a while … otherwise it gets bigger and bigger.

I didn’t have to ask myself a second time about the clean-up. I knew. My drawer clean-up person isn’t here anymore to take care of that job.

In days past, I would be amazed to come home from work and find the junk drawer so very neat and clean, with many items obviously missing. Rob would have a day off and he hated that “full-to-the-top” drawer! He said I would never throw anything away.

Funny thing, I never really looked for anything he tossed away. So now I get to do it. Determining what to keep and what to toss is not my coolest talent.

I could not see throwing away good tape or string. Finding a piece of string can be pretty hard. I went through the instruction manuals and tossed a couple.

Very few of the items were found to be really useless, except for little pieces of trash-like things that moved in from somewhere. It hurt my heart to think about throwing away all those little packages of plastic forks and spoons. Surely they will be useful at some time.

Pencils were sorted and the little ones — well, the tiny ones — had to go. I put the pens in a small box to test later to see if they still work. Most of the manicure set is still there. Clothespins are very handy for various uses in the house. And who can throw out a harmonica or a grinding stone?

The collection of “keeps” was much larger than the “toss” pile. I put the good stuff back into the drawers — which are still pretty full. A third junk drawer needed? Nah!

The pretty candle was patiently waiting to be lit. Sad to say, with all that junk, time and effort, not one match was to be found!

Retired as Associate News Editor, Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column for The Daily News. You can email her at