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MOVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD

If anyone ever again suggests that itís about time for me to move, Iíll just shoot them. Thatís right, it will be time to find the old hunting rifle and remove that person from my future. A life behind bars will be a mere inconvenience compared to the torture of moving.

Even as the cameras catch me being taken away in handcuffs there will be a smile on my face. It may seem odd, but now youíll know why. I wonít have to pack. In fact, prison officials are pretty insistent about that. After all, what can you put in a ten by ten cell?

At first the idea of moving holds great excitement. The place where you arenít always seems more inviting the place where you are. Conversations about moving focus on the perceived benefits, but almost nobody ever mentions the ďmĒ word.

Even when our for sale sign goes up there is the feeling that this may never happen. If it does we certainly have months to worry about packing and moving. The doorbell rings and potential buyers examine our house with a fine tooth comb. Still weíre arenít worried. There is surely enough wrong with the house to scare them off.

The contract catches us by surprise. Can we be out by this date? Dazed at the speed of events, we agree. Over the next few days we begin to realize how much stuff weíve accumulated. It doesnít hit us all at once.

There are the small storage rooms and that shelf on top of my closet that I havenít looked at since shoving a few boxes up there years ago. What about those cabinets over the refrigerator that nobody ever opens? There must be some kind of law that all top shelves are to be crammed full of those things which were, at one time, important,. They have been replaced by new things which will, in turn, be replaced by even newer things. And thatís how we wind up with more than we can ever move.

And, of course, there is always the attic. The attic is where we put all the things that we donít actually need or use, but canít force ourselves to throw away. Most of them will be thrown away one day, just not by us.

Our familyís history is less than neatly stored in the attic. The problem is that moving requires us to confront, and make a decision about, everything accumulated in our life.

What do we do with faded family pictures which will never again be displayed? How about that recital program where our daughter sang a solo when she was eight? My high school diploma; our sonís plastic soldiers; certificates of appreciation; childish pictures once proudly displayed on the refrigerator done by artists who are now grown; books of all ages and descriptions; an autographed baseball; two hundred cassette tapes; one hundred records; three boxes of posters and magazines about the New Kids On The Block; a bicycle once ridden and long stored; the Lionel train set I played with as a child; the list goes on.

Every single item has to be picked up and looked at and a decision made about it. Do we keep it? Do we sell it? Do we give it away or trash it? The decisions can sometimes be tough.

Two garage sales made a dent. A buyer took the leftovers and that helped even more. Trips to the Salvation Army were made on a daily basis. The rental truck was bigger than ordered and filled to the brim. A sticking accelerator made driving it an adventure.

Some people say that everyone should have to move every five years. Those people havenít moved. Feel free to offer me ideas for living. Itís okay to criticize my writing. There is just one thing I ask. Never, never, never suggest I move. Parchman is a sad place to be on Christmas day. By the way, I kept the Lionel train set, my daughterís recital program and my sonís plastic soldiers. Kind of makes you wonder what was thrown away doesnít it?

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