Thursday Tidbits

Posted on June 17, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment


Photographs and Memories


“There are places I’ll remember,

All my life, though some have changed,

Some forever, not for better,

 Some have gone and some remain.”

In My Life – The Beatles

It started innocently enough. I went looking for an old document.

There was a time in my life when I fancied myself as a somewhat organized person. Back in olden times, I was a copious note taker and journal keeper, of the hand -written variety. I had filing cabinets that were meticulously organized. When I was in business, I had day planners that I kept for years. I was involved in a lot of organizations and kept minutes of meetings, some as far back as 1981. I even kept copies of marathon training schedules…. and old birthday and Christmas cards. You get the picture.

When I retired (the first time!), I kept one of the four drawer filing cabinets from our office and took it home to store all of the aforementioned memorabilia.

This begs the question. Why in the name of god would any sane person hold on to documents and newspaper clippings for 50 years? Do we actually think that our children and grandchildren will ever look at this collection of detritus after we have “slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings”? I doubt it.

On the morning of the “first day of the rest of my life”, after completing my quarantine, I started the day in style with a pleasant 2- hour walk. I then bumped into a neighbour who asked me a question which required me to go rooting around in my filing cabinet.

You will recall that I said that I once was an organized person. It appears that in retirement, I quickly became a disorganized person, and my filing cabinet was a clear refection of this. A number of times over the past several years, I have gone looking for something, usually coming up empty handed. Such was the sad state of the filing cabinet that I would have had an easier time finding the Dead Sea Scrolls or Oak Island gold.

I cautiously opened the first drawer. I don’t discourage easily but when I looked at the mess in front of me, my first instinct was to immediately close it and go watch Netflix. My MacDonald/O’Flaherty blood has a stubborn streak in it, and I was determined to find the old document.

After the first hour, I was sweating as I hauled pile after pile of papers to the kitchen table to go through them. Out came the first, large blue plastic recycling bag.

The purge was on.

Something clicked in my head. I thought of the Nike ad exhorting us to “Just Do It”. I decided that this was the day that I would slay the beast and go through all four drawers, undertaking a massive cull.

Many of us have had the unenviable but necessary task of being an executor. While dealing with the mounds of paperwork required to wind up an estate is a formidable job, dealing with the deceased’s personal items is even more daunting. What does one throw out and what does one keep?

I thought about this as the first blue bag was full to bursting. A second bag was hastily assembled by the kitchen table. My thoughts turned to my executors. Little did they know that I was about to make their lives infinitely easier when my time comes. I don’t mean to be maudlin, but we entered this world with nothing, and we will leave the same way. In my case, the only difference is that I entered the world with more hair than I have now!

I must admit that it was a serious trip down memory lane. For hours, I pored over photos and documents that I hadn’t seen in decades. I sent one particular newspaper story and photo to my children. Fifty years ago, I won a golf tournament and the local paper, The Casket (a casket of jewels and not the kind one might find in a funeral parlour!) snapped a picture of this geeky looking guy who had a full head of hair. I posted the picture, not to brag about my victory, but to assure my loyal readers that there was a time that going to the barber was necessary and not the show of vanity it is these days.

The other newspaper clippings I decide to keep surrounded a most unusual event that people in my hometown, of a certain age, will remember vividly. In 1992, the Town Council of Antigonish decided to offer homeowners a tax holiday. I was on council at the time and while I wasn’t the architect of the plan, I happened to be the chair of the finance committee. The initiative received a lot of attention locally, provincially, nationally and even internationally.

Several hours later and “three bags full”, the job was finished. It was cathartic.

Oh, yes. I never did find the document that I was looking for!

I failed to mention that my filing cabinet is kept in a large storage closet. The storage closet was in even worse shape than my filing cabinet, if that is humanly possible.

The day after the big purge, I decided to go “all in “and tackled the closet. My closet is now a “walk in” rather than a “stumble over”.

It feels good to simplify and to know, at last, where everything is situated in my apartment.

As long as I can remember where the closet is located, I should be fine!

Have a great weekend.

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