Friday’s Weekend Column

by James Glaser
April 29, 2005

The whole rational for my recent trip through part of America was to end up in Casa Grande, Arizona, to pick up all of the stuff Charmaine and I had in storage. I had been paying storage fees since 1995 on it and it would have been better financially if I had just given everything away. It had reached the point that either I went out to get it or tell the storage place they could have everything.

You see, every year we thought we would be going back down, but Charmaine never did get well enough for us to do that and so each month I kept paying. To tell the truth, by the time I got down there, I had no idea of what was there.

I knew there was a 1965 Sears Allstate motor scooter which was really just like a Vespa. Charmaine used it to go to work down there and it got over 100 miles per gallon. It is kind of cute, being bright red and all roundy. I also knew about a stereo and a TV, but I couldn't remember what else.

It was hot last week when I got down there and I thought I would just hire one of the illegal aliens we hear so much about. President Bush claims they take the jobs Americans don't want and I didn't want to load the truck. Well I did load it, as I couldn't get anyone to work and I talked to many. I even offered $40 for two hours of help. Heck, I would have taken that job, but I could find no one who wanted to work, so I loaded everything myself.

Some of the boxes of stuff were plastic and I loaded them without even looking inside to see what they were, others that were in cardboard, I transferred to plastic containers I bought at Wal-Mart. By the time I was done, I was hot, the truck looked a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies and I was ready to get on the road. I bungee corded and strapped everything down, bought and drank a couple bottles of water and headed out going south toward Tuscan and east to New Mexico. It did only take me about two and a half hours to load up.

Actually when I got to a higher elevation and it was cooler out, I repacked the truck and the load looked good and I didn't have to worry about things falling off.

Now that I am back home, I have to unload and the hard part comes. I have to figure out what to do with this stuff. I was glad I paid those fees all these years as the whole load was filled with memories of Charmaine. There were pictures of the two of us having fun down there, quilts she had made, things we had found in the desert, and small antiques we bought to decorate the apartment with. Also the cast iron pans we had been looking for and knew we had, were there too.

I now have a bedroom stereo, and wouldn't you know it, the first plastic box I brought in was filled with Charmaine's shoes. I now have way more cook ware and more table settings than I could ever use in my house. There were Christmas decorations in boxes and we never spent Christmas down there! I always thought I was quite the collector, but Charmaine was way ahead of me.

I thought coming back home now would be perfect and that I would be able to enjoy working outside. It has snowed every night since I have returned and after three weeks down South, the north wind feels bitter cold. I will start trimming out raspberry plants tomorrow, so I will be able to walk into the center of the patch to pick. I think the soil is almost dry enough to till and I know I can start planting in the greenhouse any time now. However, once you start that, you have to be here to open the windows on sunny days and close them at night to keep things from freezing.

I was thinking of blowing off the leaf mulch I put in the flower beds, but I think maybe it would be a good idea to wait another week or so. Once you start working in the soil, you want to do everything right now, but we could still have a real hard freeze or get dumped on with a lot of snow. I guess I will just have to wait a while longer.

This time of year every thing looks gray and sort of harsh. Any green popping up stands right out and I see the deer on the side of the road are eating the new grass that is starting to grow. I drove 7,000 miles and only saw wildlife in New Mexico and that was some small deer and two coyotes. On the way to town this morning (4 miles) I saw 18 deer, a couple of raccoons, a bald eagle, and three turkey vultures. It might be a bit harsh living up here, but nature does reward you for the effort.

According to the weatherman we are going to have about a week more of this cold weather and I think that is good, because it will force me to work indoors and get everything I picked up in Arizona put away. I came home to a perfectly clean house and right now it looks chaotic. Another week won't really make that much difference with the yard and if it stays cold, nothing is going to grow anyway.

I saw lots of robins down south, but I haven't seen any summer birds up here yet and I am looking forward to the call of the loon out on the lake. Those loons will call way into the night and the sound of their call tells you that summer has come to the lake.

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