The Rainbow in the Basement
Notes from a neighborhood estate sale
There was an estate sale down the block from me the other day. It sounds grand to say—“estate sale.” But in my old neighborhood, these things are never grand affairs. The house I grew up in is a red brick Ranch, conspicuous for its size on the corner of a sleepy street lined mainly with Cape Cods. Our neighbors are young working-class families, old liberal retirees, the occasional Mexican immigrants, and the occasional bathtub meth-cooker. A police cruiser sometimes moseys down our street, on its way to someplace else.
I am home here for the summer, enjoying the peace and the drowsy sun-drenched turns around the old block. Sometimes it’s so hot that a block is all I feel like doing on a given day. The day of the estate sale was one of those days. By the time my father and I had made our way over to the little house, I was glad to walk in and get cool.
We walked past little crowded tables and boxes of books, containing what seemed like every novel ever written by Nicholas Sparks and his contemporaries. Dad had spotted some old Western DVDs in the basement earlier. Thinking of me, he’d let me know, and I accordingly brought a little cash ready to spend. Going down the stairs, I found a couple handholds installed on the side without a railing. The thought came to mind of an older someone, making his or her careful way down.