In life, as well as cards, secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 3/20/20

As a young lad, I remember being impressed with how much “stuff” my dear now-departed mother saved. In her world, if something made it to the throw-way pile, it really was trash.

Her …

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In life, as well as cards, secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep

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Posted

As a young lad, I remember being impressed with how much “stuff” my dear now-departed mother saved. In her world, if something made it to the throw-way pile, it really was trash.

Her reasoning, which she shared with me often, was: “If you’d grown up in the Depression, you’d save things, too.”

On top of saving the stuff, if she ever needed it, she could go to it right away.

She and I have a few characteristics in common...and some we don’t.

Today, for instance, I save lots of “stuff.” But I’ve seldom needed any of it and if I ever did, I couldn’t find it. And, obviously, I didn’t grow up in 1929 and later, although some financial experts tell us the economy of today is in for a wild ride that could at least see the tail lights of the Great Depression.

World market uncertainties, fueled by the coronavirus news, are combining with the actual health concerns to introduce to America a “new normal,” at least for the time being.

And as I plan to do my part by avoiding crowds and washing my hands, something else Mama also taught me, I find I have a bit more time on those hands than normal. By virtue of not being a health care professional or first responder, it’s not a necessity that I venture out daily. Obviously, many folks do have to and we all should tip our hats in gratitude to those men and women.

The leaders in the fight against COVID-19 also say it’s a good idea for me to take care since I fall into a certain age group. I’m glad we aren’t being evaluated on our looks or else I might really be in trouble.

Anyway, out of all this, I have found a silver lining. And it’s not just perhaps sleeping a bit later or having a third cup of coffee mid-morning. Rather, it’s the opportunity to go through some of my “stuff” and maybe move it out.

That includes stacks of newspapers and magazines I’m going to read through “someday.” It includes a pile of books; I’m about halfway through most of them; why I started some of them is a mystery. And just to prove I’m not a complete technical hazard, I’m going through some emails that have piled up on line, some pushing 10 to 12 years old.

Funny thing about those emails. They’re not concerned with state or national or even local proceedings. Most of them are personal notes, well-wishes from old friends, including some who are now with me only in memory. They’re forwards on political commentary, pictures of my grands when they weren’t as old as they are now and some really personal thoughts. Some fall into more than one of those categories.

Especially important to me are a number from an old high school buddy I’ve mentioned before — one Luther B. Pender, “Luke,” as he came to be called, or even “Lukie” in our really younger days. As the years sped by for us Pittsboro High School Class of 1966 folks, I eventually became Luke’s pastor. We sang in the choir together, ate too much at church functions and talked about old times and old friends and our May birthdays.

On January 2, 2017, I conducted his funeral.

Recently, as I’ve been going through thousands of emails, I’ve run across notes from him that go back several years before that day. He sent me well-wishes after I’d had my umpteenth orthopedic surgery. Sent jokes, inspirational readings, Bible verses and thoughts. And I know that he did that with many other folks, as well, this business of sending forwards with the click of a key. But for me, the point is, he sent them to me.

Now, in today’s new normal, I hope and pray for several things — a swift and certain end to the virus, a sense of Heavenly peace and calm among folks, a rapid decline in greed and hoarding beyond what’s necessary and good use of the extra days made available to many folks.

And I also hope and pray for the good sense of what to throw away and what to keep — like those emails — as I ponder my “stuff.”

And wash your hands...

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