Thursday, March 6, 2008


It has already outlasted the cat with nine lives,
and, most likely now, will outlast me as well.

I help Laurie lift it up the winding stairway
into her third-floor apartment.

Underneath the countless layers of refinishes and paint,
it’s white pine, and with the three drawers removed,
not heavy at all, since memories are not weighted
in pounds.

It was my Christmas gift in the seventh grade.
My father had Carl Martin, the parts man at Prather Auto,
by avocation a woodworker, make it for me.

Not long after that Carl saved the Prather building,
and maybe several lives, by grabbing a flaming oil pan
in his bare hands and carrying it into the street,
receiving for his bravery a thank you from the owners
and a $200 hospital bill.

Later Carl was my warrant officer in the National Guard,
and we helped defend James Meredith at Ole Miss.

I used it through high school, left it at my parents’ house
during college, loaned it to my brother-in-law for two years,
reclaimed it for graduate school, using it as a typewriter stand
for the old Royal that Kaye’s dad had acquired for her college use
by trading a heifer calf.

She and I both sat at the desk and used the typewriter
to prepare our graduate school papers.

In Missouri over the last forty years it has been our desk,
our son’s desk, Kaye’s sewing table, a computer desk,
and now our daughter’s desk.

In its various avatars it has been shellacked, stained mahogany,
painted green and then white.

Laurie eyes it curiously, already planning its next color,
but she’d better know if she ever offers it in a garage sale,

I’ll disinherit her.

- Bobby Hamblin


  1. Two or three stories within a story!

    Wow, good stuff...

  2. Thanks, Bobby....brings back many happy memories..


  3. I really like that story of the desk.

    Also, how can I save the Elvis videos to our computer. I have tried everything.


  4. Carl Martin- now that brings back memories, having grown up next door to him. Woodworker-YES. He built his son, Marty a go cart from scratch except the engine. He rebuilt an airplane in his garage and mounted the engine on crossties dug into the ground in his back yard. He would work on it and crank it and rev it up so we could feel the wind. He also built a fallout shelter for Mary Lou and the kids in the late 1950's in case war broke out. He knew he would be called to active duty in the event of war and would not have time to build one then.

    I bet your desk is a classic. Glad you shared your story.

    Jim Miller