It is stressful times out here on the farm. No, it is not anything to do with the approaching harvest or the rain we could really use right now.
It is the lessons we are learning about our stuff.
My wife and I are relocating and every move requires house cleaning so we are looking at what comes along and what does not.
I have lived in this house since 1975 and my wife arrived in 1993.
When she moved in just after we were married, my stuff was already here and she brought her stuff along with her. Since then, our treasures have melded into “stuff.”
The bigger problem is that some of it needs to be disposed of either by giving it away or destroying it. Now if only it were that easy.
There are many things that we look at that have been saved, because at the time, we thought they were important.
Many years later, we have forgotten we even had some items, so when they surface in a box, drawer, or a closet, we realize its importance does not exist any longer and we are ready to get rid of it. We are getting a much needed house cleaning.
So far, so good until we get to those items that we have not seen in some time, but still have some importance, usually for sentimental reasons.
Here’s where things start to get sticky.
Between my wife and me, I am the one who is more sentimental. I do not let go of things that represent a fond memory as easily as she does.
I want to hang on to things, where she can see their time is up and has no reason to tie up space.
She wonders, “Why keep something you have almost forgotten you own?”
It is a good question.
I wish I had a good answer.
Every day there is a fire, a trip to the Dumpster or a box that needs to be taken to a place that accepts things for free that can be resold.
She wants to keep things moving while I want to linger over the objects I have not seen in years and want to remember why it was important long ago.
Sure, I guess we can get rid of it, but now?
All this reminded me of something that happened in our neighborhood many years ago.
My neighbor had a seed dealership for a few years and put a sign at the end of his driveway announcing he was a dealer.
When he stopped being the dealer the sign remained in place.
Then one day new lettering appeared on the sign. The sign now reads, “The (neighbor’s last name) farm. One nice person and one old grouch.”
That sign is gone now, but it stood for several years and I had fun asking my neighbor which one he was.
I never got an answer.
I am ready to put that sign at the end of our driveway. All I have to do is change the last name.
Which one am I?
It seems to change from day-to-day and even hour-to-hour depending on what stuff we are looking at so if you want to know, you will have to stop by and take your chances.
My wife and I are probably learning once again what our neighbors apparently knew years ago – in every marriage there needs to be room for differences, because no two people are the same.
It is the struggle between the head and the heart. Who can say which one is more important?
Somewhere in the middle is the solution to the struggle; a solution that is reached by mutual agreement, no doubt after much discussion and some conflict.
There needs to be give and take on both sides. Nobody said it was going to be easy.
Do you think my neighbor threw that sign away?
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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