“OK, so I like to save stuff.”
That’s what I told my wife after she cleaned out the desk drawers in her home study and found two of them filled with my stuff. Obviously, she hadn’t needed those drawers because my stuff had been the only occupant for several decades.
Mind you, I am not a hoarder. I’ve seen hoarders on television, and I do not pile up in our living quarters sheetrock-putty buckets, worn-out cushions and cans filled with screws. Everybody knows they belong in the basement.
But I do like to file articles from various newspapers and magazines. I am also bad to scribble notes on a piece of paper and stick it in a file. I have several files labeled “Column Ideas.” I have a file marked “The South and Other Good Things.” I have one labeled “A Little of Everything.” I like being specific so I can find what I need.
My wife confiscated my collection of quarterly magazines called Nieman Reports, which date back to 1974. That’s only 152 magazines, of course. These irreplaceable gems now reside sadly in the back seat of my pickup truck, a place once used for passengers, but now a library. Those publications might be worth something.
I looked through one of the “Column Ideas” files tonight and read some of my cryptic notes to see if I remembered anything. One piece of paper contained 11 ideas, including “Gremlin owner,” “smoking class,” and “being born.”
I did do a column on the orange Gremlin automobile I drove for about 10 years. The Gremlin, you’ll remember, had no rear end, and my younger daughter was ashamed to be seen in an orange car that had no rear end. Slumped down in the passenger’s seat, she would duck her head toward the floorboard if she spotted one of her friends as we drove by.
The stop-smoking class turned into an interesting story, but no column, best I remember. I do recall one great quote from the story, however. I approached a graduate of the class and said something like, “Well, I guess it feels good not to crave cigarettes anymore, doesn’t it?” He looked at me solemnly and said, “I could smoke one as long as your leg right now.”
I’m not sure what I was thinking when I wrote “being born,” because I don’t remember being born. I’m told I was born at home, delivered by Dr. Raleigh Garner, a handsome, debonair man who drove a bright red Cadillac convertible. Nobody was home at the time but me and my daddy. My mama had gone shopping.
My wife cleared out Lord knows how many books, many of which belonged to me. I went through a few but left the bulk of the culling to her. She kept some and boxed up the rest to give to a used-book store. I’d rather not know what books were in those boxes.
I’ll probably need one of them tomorrow. You never know. That’s why I save stuff.
— Hudgins, a former community newspaper editor, can be reached at email@example.com.