Some things may never change ... and that’s a good thing
There comes a time in every woman’s life when she finally realizes that she is who she is, and that’s all there is to it.
A cat will always be a cat. A dog will always be a dog. And I, whether a product of genetics or environment, will always be a pack rat.
I hesitate to call myself a pack rat, though, after reading the definition in the dictionary. Mr. Webster says that the human version of this animal “habitually saves unneeded, miscellaneous items.” Everything I save is perceived to be needed, either now or in the future; after all, it wouldn’t be logical to save something you don’t figure you’re going to need. Plus, it’s been my experience that, as soon as I dispose of something for which I’ve had no use in 10 years, it will be the very thing I need desperately within 24 hours of the garbage pickup.
The above part of this column was published in 2007. I continued writing that piece of — we’ll call it literature — with a plan of attack that began with my famous, or infamous, den. I had to laugh as I read my words from that date: “I emptied out three boxes last weekend and ended up with a goodly pile of stuff to throw away. Most of it was paper. Like all reporters, I save things with my byline for a clip file. Like all genealogists, I save anything related to the family history. Like all pack rats, I save all else (‘miscellaneous’) that catches my fancy. This could be articles of historical significance, veterinary records, financial records, recipes, obituaries of people I never knew but who might tie in to someone I do know, funeral cards, receipts, coupons, etc.”
I also observed that I had turned into my Mamaw Braden, referencing family stories I’ve heard of her propensity to save things. I wrote, “I am definitely a little nut from that family tree. I could probably surpass her by now, simply because I have more rooms in my home in which to squirrel away those latent treasures.”
Fast forward five years. All I can say is, some things never change — my den is still piled up with hidden treasure. Things are going a bit better, because of the encouragement of a dear friend who told me, “You know, these are just things, and we don’t need so many things around.” My response, only partially in jest: “But, Randy, I LIKE my things around me!” He just laughed, and his significant other tactfully suggested that she would be happy to help me clean one day. Bless their hearts. I love ’em both, and I am listening. The path through the room is getting wider and a couple of bags of superfluous, truly unneeded items went out with the garbage a couple of weeks ago.
My daughter helped with cleaning the main rooms before Thanksgiving dinner at my house. I told her not to touch anything in the den since I could shut the door and no one would be the wiser. Emily spent a day scrubbing and dusting while I was at work, cleaning the kitchen and living room from top to bottom. She told me later it took every ounce of her self-control not to take “47 garbage bags” into the den and fill them up while I wasn’t watching to take to the dump.
Funny how we are so much alike in looks, personality and thought processes, yet she did not get the pack rat gene. I mean, really, this is the woman who gave away the rocking chair she rocked her babies in only a short time ago. I still have the one I rocked her and her brother in 30-plus years ago ...
At least, I think I do. Maybe that’s what the lump is under those books and afghans.
I amaze myself sometimes.
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times. You may contact her at 981-1168 or (email@example.com)