Trina Machacek: Pokes from the past

Trina Machacek

Trina Machacek

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Spring is on the radar and it’s fast approaching. That’s the good news. Spring cleaning is also in my line of sight. That’s the not so good news. But. Yes, a winter grime covered “but.” I will endeavor to clean just enough to make it seem that I have cleaned my fingers to the bone.
I use the last of a few bottles of cleaning stuff hidden under the sink then leave them around, conspicuously. I’ll endeavor to dust the back of the television. Oh, the bunnies that have taken up residency, they are almost embarrassing. Almost.
The best part I have found about cleaning the house and cleaning various other things is finding things I haven’t seen for eons. Case in point, the pencil I used as a telephone operator when I was 17 years old up until I was 20. This isn’t your average sharpened to half size and chewed on pencil. It is a green mechanical pencil, and it still has lead. When I try it, it writes so smoothly.
The cool thing about it, is that on the end where there should be an eraser; there is a spinning metal ball. That ball took the place of our fingers inside the holes of the dials, yes dials on the phones we used to place phone calls for customers. It’s a piece of my past that I treasure. As I am sure, we all have something we think has a direct connection that gives us reasons to smile.
There are some grand memories attached to that pencil. The women I worked with are slowly going to heaven, where I am sure there are “operator stations” waiting for them to make connections from inside the Pearly Gates to all things heavenly. After I sat and spun the ball on the end and wrote my name a few times with the pencil and its cool smooth lead, I replaced it in its assigned hidey hole. I will find it again next time I clean that spot. Next spring? Maybe, or the next.
It seems my dust rag is on a “seek and destroy” mission today. In scooping up all matter of dust, I also found a deck of cards. Honestly, I have loved playing cards for as long as I can remember. I don’t, however, remember putting this deck on the floor under a bedside table in a guest room. No matter.
I of course had to open the box and fan and shuffle those 52 playing cards plus two jokers. There is no other smell on earth like a deck of cards. New or well used, there is a distinct aroma that finds your nose as you fan, flash, and shuffle a deck. It’s so strong that I would bet my standard amount, a nickel. Yes, a whole nickel.
After picking up a deck and fluffing them a few times, you will have to play at least one hand of something, like I did when I found that deck under the nightstand I was dusting.
I noticed something that has crept up on me. I used to sit on the floor and play solitaire for hours. But as I sat on the floor in the bedroom this morning, back leaned up against the bed, I could only play one game before my legs and all parts of me that were on the ground began to freeze up. The need to get up was not urgent, rather it was more of a desire. Soon enough though, the desire became urgent. I know what caused the trouble in getting up off the ground. It was in no way, shape, or form, my age or my shape or form. Haha. It was all those games of Twister I played in my younger days. I wonder if I could still do a left foot blue and a right hand green. Maybe, right after I get up off the floor. But I digress.
Soon I was OK, not soon just later. When I was up and going again, the cleaning continued to vacuuming. Vacuum cleaners always deliver pokes from the past. Especially, if you have anyone with hair living in your home, like me. Seems the first thing I need to do is free up that brush thingy, again. The brush is supposed to spin and flip all matter of spics and specks of things, including hair off the carpet. With a suck strong enough to pull teeth out of your head, why will it not let a FEW Trina strands of hair escape the tiny bristles of that spinning brush? That’s so a story for another time, isn’t it?
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book, “They Call Me Weener,” is available on or email her at for a signed copy.


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