Editor’s Notebook: ‘Round and round we go…
My wife occasionally accuses me of being a pack rat. We have lots of “stuff.”But this is a purely hereditary trait, I have learned.My parents are right in the middle of the process of moving back out to California after spending more than 10 years in Mississippi. We lived down in Grass Valley for nearly 15 years before we all migrated down to the Deep South in 1990 to be closer to some of our family, and for me to go to college.But now that both their sons and daughter-in-law live out on the West Coast, my parents decided they had one last move in them and will be returning to Nevada County for good in February.If they can get all their “stuff” out here, that is.My dad drove out cross-country last week to move some of the gazillions of their possessions into storage in Reno until they get situated. An entire 26-foot-long moving van was filled to the rim with material objects, and this was just one of probably four equally-packed vans that will eventually end up out in California.The sheer, sweeping scope of how many things my folks have accumulated in 60 or so years of life stunned me.My dad, of course, blames it all on my mom, and her pack rat tendencies. My mom blames it on there being so many useful things in the universe.Among the things we unloaded last weekend?Many, many old Better Homes & Gardens magazines. Several broken lawn statues of gnomes and fairies and such. A gigantic unfinished dollhouse my parents bought in Europe more than 20 years ago now, with a little bit of painting done on it, but basically untouched since the early days of the Reagan administration.And, the piece de resistance: a box of rocks.Not gold-plated rocks or unique geological specimens, but grey, dusty, utterly ordinary rocks.An entire box of them.My mother’s credo is, “I’ll be using (fill in the blank) for something someday…”There are only so many “somedays” left, so as they prepared to move from Mississippi to California my father planned several garage sales and apparently arm-wrestled my mom into giving up a goodly portion of her “stuff.”The last time my wife and I moved house, from Incline to Truckee last summer, my wife made lots of comments about my own cornucopia of objects, particularly about how heavy boxes of books are to move.When my wife emigrated to America from New Zealand a few years back, she came here with just two suitcases of possessions. She gave away or sold pretty much everything else she owned, and she frequently reminds me of this fact.Curious about how much “stuff” I’ve amassed to date, I did a brief survey last weekend. It appears I own (approximately) 700 books, 500 CDs, 3,000 comic books, a lot of cookware, a miscellany of furniture, a computer, clothing, a squawking black cat and a smattering of other things.It’s not that much stuff. It probably would still all fit in one 26-foot-long moving van.And so far, we don’t own a single box of rocks.There is hope, still, that hereditary traits can be overcome.Sierra Sun Editor Nik Dirga grew up in Nevada County.
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