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Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015
Among My SouvenirsPosted Wednesday, September 3, 2008, at 6:27 AM
At my home I have a two-car garage, which I keep locked at all times. It's not that I am afraid someone will steal something, but I shudder every time a friend or neighbor comes close to this accumulation of debris. The whole place is an accident waiting to happen, and I don't want some friend to be crippled, if or when this pile of junk decides to swarm.
You see, I just don't seem to have the ability to determine whether a piece of rope is too short to use or too long to throw away, so, I don't take any chances, and for the past forty years I haven't had the courage to dispose of anything that might come in handy some day. It's been twenty years since I have had my car or truck in this garage, and if someone should give me a bicycle today, I would have to leave it set out in the weather.
When the motor burned out of my lawnmower about ten years ago, I knew it was beyond repair, so I went out and bought a new one. I thought I might be able to use the wheels or something off the old mower, so I pushed it back to one side of the garage on a pile of scrap lumber and small pieces of plywood which I had saved, thinking that I may want to build a bench, a table or maybe a dog house, if I ever get a dog. This pile of lumber seems to get larger every time I dig through it, and I have to climb over it every time I need something from the shelves along that side of the wall.
There are some valuable items on these shelves, like a half dozen empty plastic jugs, which will be just what I need if I decide to make some apple cider. Also on these shelves there are at least a dozen cans and buckets of paint, most of which are half empty, or half full, depending on whether you are a pessimist or an optimist. I am sure that some of the paint in these cans is dried out, but I can't know which ones, until I open them, and I don't want to open any of them until I need to paint something. There are about a half dozen large coffee cans full of nails which have gotten so mixed up that there are all sizes of nails in every can. When I start to build something, I spend most of my time looking for the proper size nail, and finally wind up going to the store and buying more nails, and whatever I have left over will be added to the mixture in the coffee cans.
On these shelves there are four pump-up garden sprayers. One of them still works, and I am keeping the other three for spare parts. About ten years ago I brought a bunch of gourds in from the farm. The long neck ones I intend to use to make the old time gourd dipper, and the bottle gourds will make good bird houses. I may be able to get started on this project this winter if it doesn't get too cold. There are six lawn chairs hanging on hooks from the ceiling. The frames of these chairs are in good condition, but three of them need new webbing.
Along the other wall there is a table where I pile an assortment of things, like my fishing rods and tackle boxes, and a 10-inch, black and white TV, which I used in my camper trailer before color was available. There is a case of Pepsi bottles, which I am keeping because they don't put Pepsi in bottles anymore, and I am sure that I can sell these for a hunk of money when they become a collector's item. Then there is a bucket of sea-shells which the wife and I picked up on Sanibel Island in Southern Florida in 1974, a bucket of sand from White Sands New Mexico, and beautiful stones from several of the Western States. I really don't know what all is on and under this table, because I haven't been to the bottom of the pile for quite some time.
Just a few weeks back, the city had a special "Clean-Up" day, and I decided that this was the time for me to get rid of some of this junk. On the day before the pickup date, I spent about six hours going through this pile of junk, and I must have carried a pick-up truck load out to the alley back of my house.
That night I seemed to be having some difficulty going to sleep. I kept thinking about the trash pickup man. I knew he would be by early in the morning and haul away all the valuable stuff I had carried out. That old charcoal barbecue grill did have a few holes in the bottom where the charcoal was inclined to fall through, but otherwise it was all right. That piece of canvas from the awning of my camper trailer that was damaged during a wind storm, just might come in handy to cover plants in the early spring to keep them from getting frost-bit. The two electric motors were burned out and would not run, but they did have a lot of good copper wire in them, and that old coffee table was broke down in the middle, but it still had four good legs, which I could use when I get ready to build that table.
It must have been nearly midnight, but since I really wasn't sleepy, I crawled out of bed, still in my pajamas, I put on my house-slippers and went out to this assortments of mementos. I didn't want to disturb my neighbors, so I didn't take any light, and tried to be as quite as possible, and working by the light of the moon, I carried most of these valuable items back in the garage.
I really didn't get rid of very much in this purging process, but the ordeal caused me to make a decision, and I solemnly swear, on a stack of old Zane Grey novels that I will not bring another item into my garage without casting out some other item of equal size. I will put this plan into effect immediately, starting tomorrow, ---- or at least by next week. --- Well, if I don't get started then, I will at least give it first priority on my list of New Year's resolutions.
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Paul Corbin is a 100-year-old historian, humorist, and amateur archaeologist from Advance, Mo. He grew up in the Greenbrier area west of Advance, where he attended Stepp School on the banks of Cato Slough and the Castor River, important waterways throughout his life. In an age when many area residents did not go to high school, the young Corbin made the decision to walk the five miles to Zalma, graduating in 1933. Throughout his life, he was an enterprising businessman, selling Watkins products from house to house throughout a large area - and later opening a variety store in Advance. He and his wife Geneva traveled throughout the United States, even following the route that the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled. His knowledge of Native American culture is extensive, and he has donated a sizeable collection of his artifacts to the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center and the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History in Marble Hill. Throughout the years, he has submitted articles to TBY, the North Stoddard Countian, the Ozark Mountaineer, and several other Missouri publications. He has also written two books - "Reflections in Missouri Mud," and "Fragments of my Feeble Mind." The first one is out of print.