Tuesday, October 18, 2016


I used to be in favor of things and I had a lot of them. Now that I'm middle aged I am less enamored of things. Chaplain, if you're reading this I would like those little things you said you were going to mail me 2 Christmasses ago but, as anyone can tell you, I'm a very patient man. Whenever.

My folks recently downsized and moved out of the family estate there in Arlinton. They were the keepers of things. When I say the keeper, I mean that they were purely amateurs. They kept every single thing from before ever plus a selection from a few ancestors before that, but my little sister, she who had 67 chairs at one point when she lived in Maryland managed to get some more chairs.

I stopped by the struggling young author's abode the other day for to admire the bathroom up on the 3rd floor that she, 3 young college age males and one, perhaps exasperated, college professor, had been working on for the last 11 months. I peaked in and was pleasantly surprised. It looked very much like a bathing room from the 1920s. [It could have used a half dozen chairs] Toulousse LaTrec would have felt right at home. My grandparents would have felt right at home. I wondered where the jets were for the swirly tub and was kicked down the stairs but not before looking into the office of the lady whose next book is getting a solid 100,000 in the first printing next year. That's a lot of books. All both of you should buy one when it comes out next year. Her office had stacks on stacks of clothes, old bicycles and coffee pots and there wasn't an inch of vulnerable exposed floor space to step on. Even the little racoon hideout was stuffed.

So, this sister, neighbor, owner-of-vast-amounts of stuff brought over things my parents left with her to give me because I have an unexpected, unanticipated shortage of stuff.

I will now list the elements from selenium to proscineum. Nurnburg, Purdue, West Point, Fort Bliss, Fort Sill, Fort Leavonworth, Carlisle, Fort Riley, Annandale, Newport, Huntsville, Picatinny Arsenal, State College, Newport, Bahrain, Dam Neck, San Diego, Newport, San Diego, Seattle, San Diego, Oakland, Emeryville, San Diego, Solana Beach, San Diego, Encinitas, San Diego. and MetroParkCentralis.

Everything I own fits into a VW Jetta. I am, pure and simply, not a man of stuff.

Oh yeah, my landlords complained about the hundreds of books I used to leave behind when I moved but that was just minor.  I own thousands of books but they are electrons and, they're really super rugged NFL approved electrons. The lightest one of my fleet dropped into the tub the other night. It went all the way to the bottom. Must have been 5 or 600 feet down when I pulled it back out of the water.

It sat, ensconsed, in a plastic Chinese food container filled with cat litter, in the sun, soaking up the rays that make pure cane sugar and it dried out and it works again. I'm definitely taking it on the Lusitania next week when we head for England. Sucker's probably better than a life vest. I really didn't think it would or could roar back to life. It surprised me.

However, this was a screed about stuff. My sister brought over 3 little boxes of stuff that a concerned parent had left with her for me. My report cards, my diploma, and what must have been my first trophy. Je suis complete. (there is a way, must be a way to make that little Fench accent mark over the e but you won't see it from me. Look elsewhere my friend.)

On the Right! right there! A tiny little trophy from 1969
Oh, and the gleaming thing  next to my trophy came back from 98,000 feet underwater and returned, spontaneously, to life, as we know it.

I would show you a photo of the little treasure that my parents bought for all 4 of us for to store our report cards through the 8th grade to be used against us but I'll save that pleasure for later. Anticipate.


OldAFSarge said...

Ah yes, stuff. I remember once upon a time when all of my earthly possessions (other than the clothing in my duffel bag) fit inside one medium size box. That was my first PCS move from Denver to Okinawa. Upon my retirement from the Air Force, all of my earthly possessions (other than the wife and three kids) barely fit into one rather large tractor trailer combo. Took 'em all day to unload.

Less stuff would make me rather more mobile, but I've got roots now, I feel rather planted.

Which isn't altogether a bad thing I suppose.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

I, somehow, have stuff I can not seem to let go of, even though I really don't want it.

HMS Defiant said...

I recall being absoutely amazed at what could be packed into the little suitcase my daughter brings for visits. I have to repack it when it is time for her to go and boggle at the fact that she didn't wear half the things in it. It really didn't take all that much effort to fit the sheep (little), snake and turtle into it and get it zipped up and ready for the TSA and airlines to abuse.

OTOH, I have become accustomed to stuff and put down some roots too.

HMS Defiant said...

I peered at two shipping containers of stuff in San Diego for almost a week and then I gave everything away. I think a third of it was old cammo uniforms. I didn't keep any. Some day, if I'm lucky, I'll get old and senile and might think about pinning a ribbon bar onto a cammo tunic, or perhaps the pants, and go out in public trying to influence the vote or panhandle or whatever it is that that kind of person does. It's never a good look. Still, I did keep the Dress Blues, the Mess Dress Blues, a pair of summer khaki and summer whites plus the Choker Whites. It's going to be such a chore figuring out which one to be buried in. Fortunately, it won't be mine.

I couldn't let go of them for some unknown reason. They clutter up one of the closets something awful.....plus the sword.

Did I bring those silly white shoes that go with two of those uniforms? No I did not.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

I have my "work jacket" and a pair of dress shoes that I wore only for inspections left.
I kept the shoes to wear on major dress up occasions because of the work put into the spit shine.