O, Pioneers!

With apologies to Willa Cather



Here we are packing up to hit the road in our beautiful new trailer and all of a sudden it hits me. We have too much stuff! And this is after we have purged and stored and purged again. I tell you I was sorry to see that oak chest of drawers sell for $20 bucks! I had it for 42 years and it was solid. It even had my daughter’s pencil scribbles on it that I couldn’t stand to sand off. Sentimental. Wrenching in a way. Yet, I have other things from my daughter’s childhood which I will never let go. Smaller things.

For example, the oak dresser had to go. Sometimes you just have to say goodbye when you’re envisioning a new life with less baggage.

And still, as the “Conestoga wagon” gets packed, it seems we have too much stuff. I tried to find a picture of the trail of debris that might have been seen when settlers were going west, driving their team of oxen, and they would realize that they weren’t going to get through that rain swollen stream with Gramma’s piano in the wagon. Out goes Gramma’s piano. Maybe an Indian riding past will tinkle the keys before the piano succumbs to the elements.

I found this bit in a textbook:


“As is human nature, however, many people simply packed too much. Understandably, people found it hard to leave behind either valuable possessions or items with sentimental value. Most would soon learn the error of their ways. As the journey progressed and both the people and the oxen or horses started to tire, possessions would start to be shed. In fact, this was so common that there was even a term for abandoned possessions on the Trail. They were known as ‘leeverites’, taken from the fact that the travelers had to “leave ‘er right here”. In some instances, whole piles of leeverites sprang up along the length of the trail.”

So we have our own pile of leeverites. Some went to Goodwill, some went to Disabled American Veterans, some went to ReStore and some went to the dump. The stuff that was too important, the stuff we wanted to keep, went into the big box truck that Marty, in his infinite wisdom, had kept all along. The rest was designated as necessary to the functioning of the trailer. It still seems like too much.

I confide in you that my mother never went anywhere because she said, “I can’t go until I get the attic organized.” She said this for years and she never went anywhere. I became a person who loves to shuck things, probably in reaction to her inability to let things go. I think you know where I’m going with this so I’ll just come right out and say it: What is holding you back from doing what you want?



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