Two empty egg cartons and a stainless steel tea kettle ride in the back seat of my car. The two-bulb table lamp sits up front.
Don't ask why. I wish I knew.
Odd things collect in my car.
Mostly, I blame my wife.
But sorting through the odds and ends, I discover that I've left a few of them there myself. For example, the deflated wheelbarrow tire, seven baseball caps and the two Thornton Burgess books I got on my sixth birthday.
Why? Again, I wish I knew.
Odd things collect in my car.
It is normal for parents to discover marvels and treasures buried inside the family vehicle. A typical family van consists of one engine, one steering wheel, four tires and seven seats.
It also contains - this is a partial list - three melted Crayolas, six crumbled Oreos, 17 Cheetos pieces, seven socks (none of them matching), three shoes (also not matching), four Matchbox cars, two Barbies, 137 Barbie accessories, two sippy cups containing some sort of gelatinous life forms, and one family pet, not necessarily belonging to your family.
Why? No one knows.
Odd things just collect in their cars.
That's the primary purpose of families with fleets of young children - to stock minivans with curious collections. I used to dig through my daughter's car seat for discarded quarters so I could buy a can of Coke. The kid carried more cash than I did.
I say used to. Our children are 30 and 26 and live hundreds of miles away. They have their own vehicles to populate with curious collections. They are not why odd things collect in my car.
I just don't know why. I decided to ask the source.
''Why,'' I asked my wife,''have I been chauffeuring empty egg cartons around in my car?''
''For the families at church who have chickens.''
''It's been five weeks. Why are they still in my car?''
''There are no chickens in your car.'' Terry paused. ''Not anymore.''
''Not chickens. Egg cartons. Why are the egg cartons still in my car?''
''So we'd remember to give them to the families at church,'' Terry said.
''What I remember is we drive your car to church.''
''So why didn't you pull the egg cartons out of your car and take them to church with us?''
I threw up my hands. ''I didn't know I was supposed to.''
''Well, why else would you have empty egg cartons in your car?''
''I don't know. Odd things collect in my car.'' I narrowed my eyes. ''Wait a minute, there were chickens in my car?''
''No, I don't think so. Why would there be chickens in your car?''
''Why is there a tea kettle? Or a table lamp?''
Terry shrugged. ''So the chickens can see to read the Burgess books while sipping their Lipton herbal, would be my guess.''
If you hear some wild tale of a church where a lunatic wearing seven caps marches down the aisle during the opening congregational, flinging empty egg cartons - cartons that appear to be indented by deflated wheelbarrow tire markings - it just might be true.
Odd people collect in my car.
--- Add to the collection at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.