This summer (and spring), I have been in the throws of the biggest obstacle I have tackled since the Beloved and I decided to install a slate entryway.
I am purging.
Decades worth of stuff.
Eighty percent of it not mine.
Half of that eighty percent consist of things I don’t even recognize, like this thing
What in the love of humanity is this? Don’t know. Don’t care. I haven’t personally used it and it was in the attic so buh-bye.
I’m not going to belabor the point that I have not owned, nor received any pleasure from the items being purged because – frankly – I need every ounce of energy to carry boxes and boxes and boxes of unwanted items to the trash, or the Thrift Store as was the case yesterday.
I love the Thrift Store.
Long before it was vogue, I was thrifty.
And in the zip code where I reside, the Thrift Store is the best place to shop.
But you don’t need to shop. you need to purge, purge purge!
Hush up conscience. I’m telling a story!
So with the vehicle full of boxes I made a trip to two of my favorite charities: The Roswell Historical Society and North Fulton Community Charities. If you’ve read my book, you know about the “Hembree Gals” and their passion for saving the Hembree Farm. One box of goodies went to the Historical Society, but the other, filled with clothing, stuffed animals and the like, traveled to North Fulton Community Charity. I’ve stopped going to Goodwill. I’m not one hundred percent certain where their money goes, but I am confident that NFCC serves the community, because I have volunteered there. They provide food, backpacks, coats, job training, and much more. They are a Godsend to the community.
But I’m chasing a rabbit, let me (try to) stay on task, at North Fulton Community Charity.
Steering the vehicle into the designated drop-off site, I spied the loveliest bench ever. It looked like something straight out of my home church, only painted.
I wanted it.
In a bad way
But I didn’t have a pickup truck.
What I wouldn’t give for a 15 year old pickup truck. (nothing new, perish THAT thought). A truck is on my list, and I do mean at the tip-top of my “must have” list right beside new socks and Orange Ginger Bath and Body lotion.
Any who . . . I donated my items, received my tax slip, and then left giving the bench one last look.
Then I sent my friend Kelle a text. Kelle’s husband recently gave her a pickup truck. I have joked with my husband that if he really loved me he’d buy me one.
I drive a Leaf.
Y’all stop laughing. Yes, it is impossible to save daffodils, and trees, and BENCHES in a Leaf. (Yes I know, I should buy my own truck and not ask my husband. I’m an author, we can’t afford trucks. We rent our vehicles).
But the bench, well, I really, really coveted this worldly possession. Alas, no truck= No bench.
Today, while picking up my daughter’s friend, I said, “We’re swinging by to check on my bench, if it’s there. I’m getting it.”
But Mom, you don’t have a truck? Daughter said, not needing to state the obvious fact that it would not fit in the Leaf (which she insists is “her vehicle” since mine was destroyed in the car accident) (she’s right).
“If it’s still there it’s meant for me to get,” I replied.
Praise the Lord, it was still there.
I paid for the bench then left my daughter sitting on it (yes, literally), while I called Good Ole Reliable Farmer Billy, who – thankfully – had just unloaded a truckload of “come-post.”
We loaded my precious bench into Billy’s truck and the kids sat in the back as I drove her home.
Look at her. Isn’t she lovely? I am so happy. Truly, I envision a spring writing workshop, with papers, and laptops, and creative minds settled down on this bench. I would love to know the story of this bench. It had a broken piece, and I am sure that is why it was donated, discarded, not good enough for one of the many fancy homes in this area. Fortunately, I don’t do fancy. I do recycled, hand-me-down, well-loved items, and Dear Friends I am in love with this one.
Knowing that I couldn’t hide my treasure, I put her beside the garage then parked the vehicle beside it, so “no one can see her.”
The Beloved came home from work. Kissed me and said, “Just where are you putting the bench?”
“But Honey, don’t ya just love it.”
“I hope you put it far, far in the woods so I never have to look at it again,” he replied.
Hahaha, that Beloved. He’s never gonna get me a truck, is he?
Then I broke into song: I love it, I love it. I really, really love it.
Perhaps it belongs on the front porch. What do you think?
Thank you for reading, and for sharing my joy.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches; Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. BOOK HER to speak to your garden club, book club, or church function, by mailing her here, or visiting her website at www.reneawinchester.com.