May 2, 2019

Just Saying…

It’s Time to Celebrate

By Q.C. Jones

Sandwiched between Easter and Memorial Day lies perhaps the single most important celebration of the year. A celebration of such dramatic proportions nearly every household in the Good Old Quad Cities celebrates. The items used to commemorate this day adorn the basement, attic and closets throughout the whole of community. Whether you realize it or not, you are probably celebrating that wonderful day, May 17th.

I am of course referring to May 17th, National Pack Rat Day. So with this celebration in mind, let’s go off exploring some of the sights, sounds and sites (of the location variety) of the holiday season.

My basement is an all year-long monument to the day. Once a really nice finished basement, my daughter’s teenage bedroom/pseudo apartment, a music room and man cave deluxe, the space has become a monument to this special day. Allow me to duplicate Jacqueline Kennedy’s famous February 14 tour of the White House aired some 57 years past.

Welcome to QC’s basement. As we stumble down the lovely carpeted stairs you will notice a couple of piles to the left. This is the Jones family’s collection of beer and wine accumulated over the past few months. The empty box of “two buck” chuck…, I mean Charles Shaw, wine is a left over from last week’s wine tasting and is being stored for any friend who might move in the next few years.

Dodging the half full 12 packs of diet ginger ale on the right we step over a couple of rusty tools and an electric drill left from the last fixit project; a lamp repair if memory serves me. But hey why bother to put such useful items away. I chose to leave them here because the tool box is out in the garage and currently piled with other treasures left over from the Yule Season.

Rounding the corner of the steps and entering the full basement area and turning off to the left we see the remnants of several partially dissected musical instruments, 500 or so record albums waiting to be traded at the record exchange and large stack of 78’s which hold the mystery of popular music in the 1930’s. It should be noted the record player designed to play those old 78s is perched high atop two sets of unused stereo speakers and a cabinet holding the QC Jones private collection of Horatio Alger books and small samples of minerals picked up during trips across the country.

Moving into the main room of the basement, we see two futons piled high with treasures of various kinds. Most notable amongst these “objects de art” are the 20 plus picnic baskets accumulated over the years for holding other souvenirs and yet more guitar parts. Like the Manhattan Museum of Art, the Jones Family rotates the baskets through the house based on times of year. In preparation for the big day (May 17th if you’ve forgotten already), I have carefully dumped the contents of a couple of baskets onto a table for later curating.

The centerpiece of the Jones collection is housed on a set of matching wood shelves which extend for the entire length of the right wall. Now, I know many of our readers are starting to think all of this sounds like braggadocio, but give me just
a few more words to describe this magnificent mélange of memorabilia.

Buttons of the advertising variety are a thing with QC. Years ago, I snatched up dozens of them at state fairs, conventions and other get-togethers. These are housed in three overflowing cigar boxes. The overflow started four years ago after I found a pile of them for a quarter at a neighborhood garage sale.

Trust me, broken pocket watches will come back into style. Until then I have them housed a plastic fishing box along with a real glass eye, a dozen or so amusement tokens and a bottle of holy water purchased at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. One can never tell when Holy Water might be needed.

Bear ashtrays top off the collection. My grandfather had an ashtray in with a bronze statuette of a bear on the edge. I liked it so much I decided to buy every bear shaped ashtray in the Western Hemisphere, but since they were hard to find, I gathered up a pile of ashtrays with hotel and restaurant logos. Each one of these serves as a holder for some other collection of smaller stuff. My favorite holds the arm bone of turtle, a guitar pick inscribed with the “RME member” and a sold chrome valve cover. Our tour could go on, but space (in this publication) is of a premium.

If you, like me, are a practicing member of the Pack Rat Club, mark your calendar for May 17th. If you’re not… there will be plenty of garage sales this month. Now is the time to start… Just saying.

Filed Under: Humor