“Not that ceramic cat with the broken paw,” my sister says. “Aunt Kate gave that to Mama for Christmas in 1956.”
“We might be able to use that later,” Larry says of the broken toaster I’m holding over the trash can. “I can at least take the cord off and put it up for future use.”
We have an incredible amount of junk—uh, stuff—stored against possible future needs. Car motors, wire, camouflage face paint, eight track tapes, 78 rpm albums—who knows when we might need one of those items.
I am surrounded by packrats—my spouse, my sister, my daughter-in-law Julie. In this throw-away society, they refuse to throw anything away. Julie’s parents fit the category, too, but they have loads of storage space. I do not.
I, on the other hand, am the direct opposite. I throw things away. I can’t stand clutter, and as I get older, that condition worsens. A few months after my mother died, my father asked me to do a yard sale for him to help him reduce his clutter. My mother had been the queen of all packrats; hence the task was monumental. During the course of the sale, Daddy plopped into his recliner and propped up his feet.
“Are you tired, Daddy?”
“No,” he replied. “I’m afraid you’ll sell my chair.”
Over the past four decades, Larry and I have disagreed many times over the disposal of various items, and I admit that many times his stockpile came in handy. For example, one Sunday afternoon, the washer broke, and he found among his hoarded parts the exact one he needed to repair it. Now all these years later, he still reminds me regularly of that incident.
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