Leon Aldridge



noun — 1. a surviving memorial of something past. 2. an object having interest by reason of its age or its association with the past.

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The boom in Zoom meetings during the COVID-19 voluntary incarceration has posed a couple of problems for me. One was learning to use Zoom, the newest fad in online meetings. Not that it’s difficult, but by the time I get one form of virtual meeting mastered, everyone is flocking to the next version out of nowhere like a rogue virus rendering my hard-earned knowledge to the status of “relic.”

First, it was GoToMeeting. But by the time I learned how to use it, I had missed the meeting. That was followed by Google Hangouts, so I hung out over there attempting to conquer that one. Once I got the hang of it however, the name had changed to Google Meet. But a virtual meeting by any other name by then was of no concern because everyone in my circle had migrated to Microsoft Teams. Before I even got teamed up with that one, coronavirus arrived, and just like that, everybody was meeting on Zoom.

A couple of business meetings helped introduce me to Zoom before a virtual family reunion invitation arrived. After a lifetime of traveling thousands of miles between Texas and Kentucky, plus spots in between, here we were swapping stories about kids, grandkids, in-laws and outlaws, medical records, and talking about whoever didn’t show up. I have to say though, I really missed the fried chicken, potato salad, and the “Snappy Cheese” dip from Hall’s on the River at Boonesborough, Kentucky. Luckily, I had a small stash of the Blue Grass state’s soft drink bottled only in Mom’s hometown of Winchester, “Ale-8-One,” for sipping at the virtual reunion in the comfort and convenience of my home office room.

And that brings up the second problem Zoom created for me: my office at home. I guess it’s really not Zoom’s fault that I was forced into using their meeting site while being imprisoned at home. But what I saw on my computer screen looking over my digital shoulder into my home office the first time was a stark reminder that my home office is … well, anything but typical.

In fact, I’ve struggled for some time over what to call it. Since the days of spare bedrooms after the kids moved out, I’ve commandeered one solely for my business and hobbies. However, “office” just wasn’t an appropriate moniker for that part of my home. I’ve floated several names opting for “office,” mulling over “music room,” then leaning toward “library.” But the default was usually, (cue the deep voice emphasis) “my room.” So it was, that no name felt comfortable or appropriate until that first virtual view resembling Hollywood Squares as I looked at the surroundings behind me.

Walls of bookcases, hanging art, memorabilia, photos, guitars, computers … relics of all kinds including at least 75-percent of all the books I’ve purchased going all the way back to college textbooks. And records. I’ve collected records since I was in high school, but I pared that collection down a few years ago to my all-time favorite couple thousand or so. When records phased out some years ago, I turned to collecting CDs before vinyl started its comeback, so I also have a few hundred of those.

As I gazed at the virtual view of “my room” during that first online business meeting, someone referenced an item on the agenda using a term that proved inspirational for what I thought was the perfect name for my room: the “Relic Room.”

But as good as that sounded, it was only while researching the definition above that with only a slight derivation, I coined a definition of my own: Relic— anyone having an interest in relics by reason of his or her age from their association with the past.

That’s when I realized I had penned the perfect official name for the room formerly known by many names. It will from henceforth fondly and forever be known as, “The Relic’s Room.”

Contact Leon Aldridge at leonaldridge@gmail.com. Other Aldridge columns are archived at leonaldridge.com

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