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SECOND-HAND LIFE
October 24, 2006
 
To begin with, Noodle isn't dead, the animal communicator told me on the phone.

I knew that. Don't ask me how.

She's with people, she went on. She got locked in somewhere when she went exploring and now she says she's up high in a window.

Makes sense. All the houses in this neighborhood are at least two stories high, and most are three.

The people where she lives give her treats.

Well, I figured as much.

But she would like to come home. I told her to stay by a window. So when you're out looking for her, look up. Well, okay. But why Noodle couldn't have taken note of her street address is beyond me.

To a genuinely absurd degree, I felt better after talking with the animal communicator. Felt as if I'd been in touch with the funny little cat who so captivated us, and whom we still miss. Even if we do not see her again, it is nice to think she is still in this world.

This is so, even though the ones who are not in this world seem closer to me now than they ever have before. In a way that must be something like the intimacy the Mexican Day of the Dead represents there, I find them everywhere. I have tea with my father, cook with my grandmother, drive with my mother. I cuddle a cat and it's my born-too-soon baby who could not breathe the air of this world: fat, substantial and safe in my arms. I see a track-cleaning car creep along; my brother, who loved trains, watches its slow, steady progress with me. I hear "I'll Be Seeing You" and there is Joe Rider. I hear "It's Not Easy Being Green" and there is Beverly King. Who'd have thought that one of the best things a good song does is connect you with dead people?

I guess just about every good thing will do that, here is the communion of the saints. There's nothing we have that we didn't get from the ones who went before. We didn't make any of this; the most self-made among us inherited it all. Everything about us is gloriously second-hand.
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Second-hand Rose


Father has a business, strictly second-hand
Everything from toothpicks to a baby-grand.
Stuff in our apartment came from father's store
Even things I'm wearing someone wore before
Its no wonder that I feel abused
I never get a thing that ain't been used

I'm wearing second-hand hats
Second-hand clothes
That's why they call me
Second-hand Rose.
Even our piano in the parlor
Father bought for ten cents on the dollar
Second-hand pearls
I'm sick of second-hand curls
I never get a single thing that's new.
Even Jake, the plumber, he's a man I adore
Had the nerve to tell me he's been married before!

Everyone knows that I'm just
Second-hand Rose.
Once while strolling
Through the Ritz a girl got my goat:
She nudged her friend
And said, Oh look there goes
My old fur coat!
Everyone knows that I'm just
Second-hand Rose
From Second Avenue!
--lyrics by Grant Clarke and James F.Hanley
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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