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Brothers Grinn mailing! (Sept. 20)  Smikov Grinn
 Sep 20, 2005 00:09 PDT 
The Brothers Grinn present
our September 20, 2005, mailing!
Our special tribute to family!
Part 2: Friends of the Family

"Give me a mattress, or give me death."
-- John Patrick Henry


By the late Jocko Grinn
Have you ever had a relationship so deep and meaningful that when it ended, you felt as though a part of you had died?

I have. For the entire second year of our marriage, my wife and I shared our house, our back yard - yes, our very lives - with a mattress called Spring Air. Initially, I admit, we regarded Spring Air as an inconvenience, a twin-size mattress left in the driveway by the house's previous owner, but as time went on, Spring Air came to mean something more to me. Something special.

My wife will always be the love of my life, but I can't deny that Spring Air came to hold a place in my heart as well. Even now, years later, I still recall it with a sad wistfulness normally reserved for third-grade crushes.

The mattress grew on me slowly, but when we threw a housewarming party that July, Spring Air was there, along with some of our best friends from church and from college. It said little, being shy, and it mostly hung out on the side of the house away from the guests rather than mingle with them.

This behavior didn't particularly surprise me. Mattresses are not social creatures, and they rarely spend much time with more than one or two people in the course of their lives. This also probably was its first party, so some bashfulness was to be expected.

But there was no mistaking the sensation it caused. In its own quiet way, Spring Air quickly became a conversation piece among our guests, who invariably revered it as the most unusual piece of patio furniture they ever had seen. Our picnic table and every one of our chairs have been used repeatedly, but not one person dared to use Spring Air for an afternoon nap. Such was the respect we held it in.

In time, Spring Air became something of an attraction, or perhaps a celebrity. People came from Maryland, from Pennsylvania, from Arizona and from Vermont and asked to see the mattress. Ours became known as the only house on the block - perhaps in the city or in all New Jersey - to have a mattress in the back yard.

Spring Air became like family to us. It stayed with us all summer long and into the autumn. When Hurricane Floyd hit New Jersey in 1999, destroying communities like Manville and Bound Brook, the mattress stoically braved the elements and protected our house as best it could.

When our first child was born, Spring Air kept vigil while we were at the hospital. And when we brought her home for the first time, it was there, waiting for us patiently, and never once reproached me for not telling it when she had been born.

To my knowledge, the mattress never once asked for anything. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and Easter all came and went, and Spring Air stayed outside on the patio without once asking to come in and have a bit of turkey, to sing carols around the tree or even just to dry out.

And so the days passed. Snow fell, lingered and melted away. Winter turned to spring, and in their turn, spiders, insects and a few species of mold I've never identified made that mattress their home.

From time to time, my wife, in a surprising bit of jealousy, gently would hint that Spring Air had overstayed its welcome, and she would ask me to escort it to the roadside.

"I think we have to make special arrangements before they'll take it away," I would say as I stalled for time.

Trouble began brewing in earnest in the spring. Leaves that had gone unraked over the winter because my time was needed inside with the baby had piled up against Spring Air, and as they rotted around it, the mattress began to make a stink. Its bright colors had faded, and visitors who saw Spring Air began to remark that it should go.

The fateful day arrived early one morning in late May. Coming back from her office one day, my wife saw something that set her aquiver with excitement. A homeowner a block away from us had put a queen-size mattress and box spring out on the curb with his regular garbage.

I knew as soon as she told me that Spring Air's days were numbered. Less than a week later, I dragged it out to the curb. Time and the elements had not been kind to our guest. Practically new when we had moved in, it had aged prematurely, and I knew it was time to put it down.

I leaned it against a tree between our house and the one next door in case there was an extra fee associated with leaving oversize items out for collection, and I said my goodbyes.

"I guess this is it," I said. "It's best if you leave tomorrow morning. I don't want the zoning officer to fine us for keeping you outside. It's probably against a city ordinance."

Spring Air said nothing, and wouldn't even look at me. I could tell I had hurt its feelings.

The next morning I watched, misty-eyed, as city workers picked up our mattress and threw it into the garbage truck. Even from where I stood, I could feel its resentment at this betrayal.

"I could have stayed forever," it seemed to say sullenly. "See how your flowers and picnic table fare. I never would have biodegraded on you." I watched as it rode slowly away aboard the garbage truck. It never even tried to look back.




Brothers Grinn, BrothersGrinn.com, Cousin Otto, Grinn News Service, Jocko Grinn, Markle City, The Markle City WOW, Smirkov Grinn, and other distinctive characters and institutions created by the Brothers Grinn, and their images and likenesses are the intellectual property and trademarks of Ravensmyth Corp. Unauthorized use strictly prohibited, used here by permission. Ken Collins is not usually considered a mattress.

Chicken Soup for the Soulless is a parody, and has no relationship to Chicken Soup for the Soul, which is copyright by Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises.



Hate today's mailing? Write to insom-@brothersgrinn.com and tell us all about it. Please include your complete address, including street and apartment number, and which window opens on your bedroom so Cousin Otto can show you the error of your ways.

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Contact us with general complaints about the lumpiness of your mattress, insights into the usefulness of bedboards and box springs, and tales of other lost loves (Smirkov once had a thing for an endtable) at Cousi-@brothersgrinn.com.

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Original humor at www.BrothersGrinn.com!
(c) Copyright 2000-2005 by Ravensmyth Corp.


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