Those who’ve followed my blog for a while know how good I am at throwing myself pity parties. Like most folks, my hopes and dreams didn’t fair too well against the realities of life. Plus, being part of a small dying branch on the family tree, I don’t have much in the way of family to relate to, anymore. I felt cheated when I had to give up my self-employment, nearly 20 years ago. I felt like a failure selling the family farm to escape my debts when it became apparent that the factory where I worked then was going to close ten years ago. And, it’s been with a mixture of thankfulness and regret that I’ve parted with many old heirlooms over the years to help with expenses. Many items, while poor in value, were rich in memories, but I was the only one left who knew their stories.
Still, there’s a certain feeling of freedom in sorting out and getting rid of excess “stuff.” We are, too often, limited and constrained by our possessions. I’ve heard of people passing up once-in-a-lifetime opportunities because there would be no-one to keep an eye on their stuff while they were gone. You have to wonder about the actual value of material goods when they limit you, rather than give you more opportunities. Of course, most of us have known folks who have so much unneeded trumpery that their garage and multiple storage rentals are filled to over-flowing. I try to keep in mind Billy Graham’s quip that he has yet to see a U-Haul following a hearse to the cemetery.
And so, yesterday, I parted with three neat little wooden boxes from the 20’s or 30’s, perhaps, that once held Famo Chocolate Covered Nuts. I knew that because of the embossing on the box lids, inside and out. They later held family photos and papers and had come from the one-time store building at my grandparents, which later served as my beloved great aunt’s living quarters. I had documented and distributed all the contents, though, so regardless of how neat they were, I really had no use for them. So, I advertised them on Facebook and sold them for $20 for the three, which put some gas in my truck. Had I known that the guy was buying them only to cut them up to build musical instruments, I wouldn’t have sold them to him. I felt they deserved to be saved for their own sakes, but hey, I guess they’ll bring joy to somebody.
I sold my tractor yesterday, also. I hated to part with it for different reasons. For one thing, I’ll never again get that good of a tractor for that good of a price. Also, it may mark the end of another little dream that I had. Perhaps most of all, it’s the first time that I’ve ever been “tractorless.” My granddad got the first tractor for the farm in ‘33 or ’35, a Fordson, from what I can see in an old photo. Then came a ’53 Ford Golden Jubilee, followed by a ’57 Ferguson 40. Last, I did some trading and let the 40 go to a neighbor who could take better care of it than I, while I ended up with an excellent used Massey Ferguson 240.
Had I gotten my act together sooner and signed up for CDL training when I first lost my job 11 months ago, I could have held onto the tractor, but I was sure I’d have a job by this time, so I didn’t sign up. You might guess that when I finally decided to take that training that congress would decide not to extend my unemployment benefits. So, I sold the tractor. Now I’ll have the money to live on while I take the training and, maybe, for two or three months afterwards. It remains to be seen whether congress will revisit the extended benefits issue.
The guy who originally got the tractor for me, was also kind enough to take it to his place and check it over and try to find a buyer. It was there that I met the guy who would buy it. He seemed like a nice young man. I knew the neighbor when he was just a kid, and his help has been a real blessing for me. I’m glad that I’ve made his reacquaintance in my later years. He wouldn’t accept anything for his help and is even going to deliver it for the new owner. They don’t come much nicer than that.
As I came home from making the deal, the sun was setting toward the town end of the ridge and the sky was ablaze with all the colors of the rainbow. With reds, yellows and oranges predominating, the western horizon cast a fiery glow on the recent snow. It reminded me of all the beautiful sunsets that I’ve been blessed to witness during the many years that I worked outdoors for my living. It felt like a gift from the Lord. Not everything of value can be kept in a wooden box…….or a U-Haul. © 2014