When it comes to getting rid of it, some things defy decisions

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 6/9/21

While I’ve never made the cover of GQ or any other men’s fashion magazine, I think I do a fairly good job of being somewhat neat and coordinating my daily outfits — most of the time.

But …

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When it comes to getting rid of it, some things defy decisions

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Posted

While I’ve never made the cover of GQ or any other men’s fashion magazine, I think I do a fairly good job of being somewhat neat and coordinating my daily outfits — most of the time.

But it’s really not all that hard to do, especially if you tend to wear blue jeans most of the time or if most of your slacks are gray and most of your shirts are white.

Occasionally there will be the one blue sock and one black sock episode, but that’s usually a product of getting dressed in the dark.

Other parts of life, however, aren’t all that neat for me — particularly in the area of throwing away things and keeping only stuff that’s really needed. A good portion of that is because when I was being made, a big chunk of packrat ran away from the animal kingdom and jumped into my human makeup.

I have mentioned this from time to time before, hoping for a magic pill or silver bullet to figure out what to keep but, so far, one hasn’t showed up. And so, in my study, for instance, I’ll take a cleaning fit once in awhile and go through three years’ worth of newspapers I’ve saved because “one day I’ll read them.”

Ditto with the books and notes and slips of paper with information written in a scrawl only a deficient chicken could read. Over the years, I’ve uncovered items I’d not only forgotten but also didn’t know existed.

I really think I’m getting better at throwing away things, but occasionally an item will come along that I can’t bear to trash, but I also don’t quite know what to do with it.

Case in point is my Mama’s purse, given to me when she entered a care facility in 1998, there to live out the last years of her earthly existence. It is in exactly the same shape, form and fashion as that day. Inside there are pictures of her grandchildren and of my dad, her house key, about $40, an old grocery shopping list and a large number of crumpled tissues.

So, what to do with it all?

I’ve got all the same pictures. I don’t need the keys. I actually did remove the cash and put it in her grandchildren’s savings accounts, and don’t like her choices in some grocery items.

But there’s one thing she and I have in common — those tissues. In most of my jackets and sport coats, one outside pocket has a gazillion tissues and napkins, usually left-over ones from the encounter with my most recent cheeseburger.

Eventually they get used for one thing or another, but in pondering them I sense I’m turning into, at different times, my father and my mother. She’d tell me I could do worse, and she’s right. I just don’t like having the residue of 14 pine trees floating around in my pocket.

When I pass along that information — about turning in to my parents — to the two 40-something people who used to be teenagers who lived at my house, I remind them of the inevitable: that they will, in time, turn into their mother and me.

I don’t think they’re looking forward to an overload of tissue in their pockets.

Too bad ... and I still don’t know what to do with Mama’s purse except leave all that stuff, papers included, in it. And it does bring me a bit of comfort to see it and remember her. And, Lord knows, we could all use a little bit of comfort these days.

Bob Wachs is a native of Chatham County and retired long-time managing editor of the Chatham News/Chatham Record, having written a weekly column for more than 30 years. During most of his time with the newspapers, he was also a bi-vocational pastor and today serves Bear Creek Baptist Church for the second time as pastor.

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