Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Magic Reappearing Lamp


My kids and I headed up to Perth several days ago to spend some of the school holidays with my mum and dad. When we walked into the dining room we were greeted by this ...


I've seen many similar dining room table decorations like this before at my parents' place - it means my mum is preparing to donate an excessively large proportion of her household belongings to the next local school fete.

Usually this results in a positive outcome for everyone involved: mum rids her home of unwanted clutter, her trash becomes someone else's treasure and the school makes some money to go towards their building projects. I say 'usually' because once it did not altogether go so smoothly. It's one of those family stories that has been recycled over the years and it generally surfaces whenever anyone mentions donating household goods, or just when one of us feels like teasing him about his bad memory. Are you ready for a good old recycled family story, coz here it comes ...

When I was about ten, my mum did an enormous spring clean and blitzed the house of everything that she no longer wanted, in preparation for the annual school fete. Mostly, the items were books and toys, which she packed into some boxes for my dad to deliver to the school. Next to the boxes she placed a lamp. It did not look like the lamp in the photo above. That's its replacement - a trusty old lamp that has withstood the test of time and works the way my mother wants it to work. The lamp in question was small, black, ultra-modern and super shiny. What annoyed mum about it was that it ran on batteries instead of electricity and the batteries were forever running out and needing to be replaced. For someone who loves to read in bed, there is nothing more irritating than an unreliable bedside lamp.

A week or so before the fete, mum helped dad to pack the boxes into the car. From there he was going to drop them off at the school gym. She handed him the lamp and said "At least I can finally get rid of this stupid thing".

The morning of the fete, Dad went off to help out with the stalls but the rest of us didn't go because we had other things on that day. As he drove out of the driveway, mum called out to him "Bring home a bargain or two if you see one".

When he came home in the evening, he looked pretty pleased with himself. In his hand he had a plastic bag.

"Did you find any bargains?" Mum asked him.

"I did actually", he replied.

"I got this for only $5".

Out of the bag he pulled our very own dreaded battery-operated lamp.

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