People collect all sorts of silly things: stamps, coins, toy soldiers, ex-husbands, cars, houses, sports junk, glass doodads, figurines, and even rocks. Yes, I confess: I like rocks. Now, I don’t want any of those boulders sitting out on the corner of the lawn—even if the street department DID dig it up out of our yard. They dug it up; they can haul that sucker out of here. No, I like little rocks. Not the kind people wear on a chain around their necks or in a ring on their fingers. I just like pretty rocks that sit out in my front yard and do nothing but appeal to me.
Apparently it is a genetic tendency. Mother-in-law liked rocks before she lost all her marbles. [I collect those too.] Her oldest granddaughter took a trip to California and brought back a suitcase filled with rocks. The men who had to load those suitcases every morning kept griping and saying that they were surely getting heavier. We just looked heavenward and never said a word. But we weren’t the only ones collecting pretty rocks on that trip. Old Town in Albuquerque has some shops that cater to silly people who want their rocks in the shape of eggs. And yes, we bought some.
Down Highway 287 around Decatur, an old man has a collection of hub caps stacked neatly around and all over the front of his property. For all I know, he may have those hubcaps for sale, but it never ceases to amaze me that his collection just seems to grow each time we see it. His neighbors probably just love him. Ahem.
Years ago a man collected “junk and stuff” at the corner of Highway 79 and Old Lake Road where everyone who traveled south got to wonder about all the goodies out there on about five acres of grassy land. I think we bought an old three-gallon jug from him and maybe a few other things. He kept cats and dogs to manage the varmints, but he never mowed the grass. He didn’t live in the city limits, so no one could say anything about his “mess.” He didn’t have neighbors, either, so it was a wonder that anyone noticed when he died. I don’t know who cleaned up the collection of miscellaneous stuff from the property, but the house and all the good stuff are gone, and a boring four-lane highway took its place.
When mother-in-law moved to the rest home, her daughter and a granddaughter began the process of going through the years of collected memorabilia and assorted old tax records—plus all the quilting scraps and threads that can accumulate in umpteen years. It took several trips with a truck and a van to haul off her collections. And she was a very NEAT person who didn’t keep all the junk some people do.
Anyway, the experience of seeing her things removed and dispersed taught us something about collecting things: WHO will want those things? My rocks aren’t going to be a big deal—the marbles either. But THREE book cases full of books? And VHS tapes, assorted straw baskets, and clocks out the kazoo! And that does not even touch the china sets, the dozens of “special” pans that will probably never be used again.
Then there are the tools! HA! Bet no one would think about anyone collecting tools! Well, think again. We have every tool known to man and Harbor Freight—PLUS all the huge wrenches and pry bars needed to work on those big Caterpillars—the diesel kind, not the little furry ones. There are THREE tool boxes full of greasy (ok, oiled!) tools and all kinds of saws, hammers, nailers, air thingys, and assorted jacks that are big enough to pick up one end of a house. No, mechanics are collectors. But their collections don’t usually take up house space. Usually the remodeling stuff goes right back to the shop by the next day, so we don’t have THAT collection in the house.
Anyway, it tires me out to just think about trying to get rid of some of this stuff we have collected over the years. I wonder how many of the grandkids it would take to haul it all off someday. Maybe we should have a “collection” sale and get rid of a bunch before they have to do it for us. Let’s see: which of these books do I really want to keep?