Lists tell us a lot about ourselves.
A grocery list tells us what we’ll be eating for the next few days. A to-do list tells us where to go and what to do when we get there. An invitation list tells us who our friends are. A Christmas list tells us to get going before things get too crazy.
Last week, I peered into the cubbyholes of an old, unused desk and discovered a most curious list of things.
A collar and ID tag from a long dead cat.
A copy of The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford.
My grandfather’s pocket watch.
Two engraving plates with my name on them: one for stationery, the other for calling cards.
A deliciously twisted tale by by John Updike with equally twisted drawings by Edward Gorey.
A box of “Dennison Gummed Labels,” now a collectible item from the 1940’s which holds pictures of my parents.
I’m not getting a clear sense of direction from that odd little list. I only know that, ultimately, it tells me something about myself. Because that’s what lists do.
It also underscores the value of little-bitty cubbyholes, which can hold treasures worth re-discovering on a rainy day when you have nothing else to do.