One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s, Well, Probably Junk Too

Yesterday morning, Bill – as he does every morning – asked me what my plans were for the day.

“Oh, I thought I’d take out the grass on the north side of the house and pour a cement sidewalk, and then I will install the drip system in my garden,” I replied. “If there’s still time, I think I’ll work on that cure for Parkinson’s.”

Bill thinks I’m hilarious. Or he would have, had I actually said those words. Instead, what I really said was that I planned on bringing up the boxes from the basement that contain all of the stuff I took out of the china cabinet a year ago. Yep, that china cabinet has stood empty for over a year.

You know why? Yeah, I’m lazy, but that’s only a fraction of the reason. The main reason that it has remained unfilled all of these months is because I can hardly bear to put all of those things back into my little cabinet. When I emptied it, it was filled to nearly overflowing. I have my 12-piece set of Royal Doulton china, including a tea pot and cake plate. But that’s the least of it. I have serving pieces and glass bowls and candlesticks and knick knacks, er, objet d’art. I have espresso cups and cocoa cups and coffee cups and liqueur glasses and wine glasses. I have candy dishes and nut servers and salad bowls.

Much of it came to me as wedding gifts. A lot of it was given to me by Bill’s mom, who – facing the same situation I am facing – no longer had a use for it but didn’t want to give it away.

Yesterday morning, when I was refreshed from a night’s sleep and had lots of dreams for the day, I decided I was going to be ruthless about what I was going to return to that cabinet. If I don’t use it, I told myself, it is going to Goodwill. I made it as far as the basement, where I peeked into a couple of the boxes, sighed heavily, and went upstairs to crochet.

Because, as I’ve said many times before, I don’t need any of those things any longer. Maybe the china, because at least I drag that out of the cabinet once or twice a year. But how on earth could I take the cocoa cups that Wilma got as a wedding gift and give them to Goodwill? She had the supreme advantage of having a kind-hearted daughter-in-law who couldn’t say no. My daughters-in-law are lovely, but they simply don’t want my stuff. Four-year-old Cole prefers paper plates over porcelain.

I came across an article recently from Forbes that confirmed what I already knew. Our kids don’t want our crap. They listed the top 10 things our kids don’t want, and I have them all. Photos and books and Persian rugs and silver plated tea services. They don’t want the Hummels that belonged to my mom.

When Bec packed up her house in Virginia – the house where she and Terry lived for 30 years or more – she was brutal. But at some point, she simply grew tired of trying to figure out what to move, what to take to Goodwill, and what to toss. She got to her cedar chest, opened it, saw her wedding gown, and closed her cedar chest. “I’m going to let my kids figure out what to do with the stuff in my cedar chest after I die,” she vowed silently to herself. Or maybe out loud. I wasn’t there.

I took that to heart, and for the past few years I have been saying to myself, “I’m leaving this mess for our kids to clean up.” But something occurred to me recently. Chances are I will move out of this house before I die. That leaves the responsibility with me. Dang.

I wonder if telling the kids that I was feeling a little bit poorly (as my grandmother would have said) would get them over here sooner. Maybe I could cough a little.

By the way, this is as far as I got with yesterday’s project…..

But as Scarlett O’Hara said, “I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow’s another day.”

Unfortunately, tomorrow is today.

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