Getting Closer

“It’s all just happening so fast.”

“Well, yes, but we’ve been talking about this for eighteen months.”

“I know, but I just found out on Wednesday that we’re leaving this coming Wednesday.”

“Are you ready?”

“I guess so. I’m just worried about flying over the water.”

“You’re not concerned about flying over land?”

“No, not as much.”

“Well, the good news is that if we crash from 36,000 feet up in the air we’ll be smashed into a thousand little pieces.”

“OK, that’s good.”

I was talking to daughter Elisabeth, age 11. Her thoughts were fairly typical of the kids.

David has been worried about giving up some of the clothes he’s hoarded from his older brothers. The things have been reduced to rags but he’s ready to have his turn to wear them and capture that “look,” especially that of his elder brother Ben.

“Look David, this stuff is worn out. Besides you’re not going to have a chance to wear shorts, maybe once or twice a year over there.”

“I know, you told us, it’s cold.”

I opted to pack it all; it’s easier to bring it than argue with him. He’s not listening to reason.

They’re all proud to have their own suitcase and have jealously guarded their claim on “the big blue one,” or “the plastic one.”

“Guys, you’re going to fill these things up and then you won’t see them again until we’re unpacking them in Scotland.”

“Yeah, but Daddy, I want the one with the flowers on it.”

“All right, I guess you can have it.”

Today is trash day. I’ve been assigned the task of going through the boxes of stuff that have no obvious use or home, bits and pieces that have been collected over the years. Lisa has more trouble getting rid of it than I do.

“John is merciless when it comes to this stuff,” Lisa explained to her Dad. “I’ll carefully sort out piles of garage sale stuff and throw-away stuff. Then I’ll organize the remaining stuff for the kids.”

I stare at her blankly. “Rubbish, all of it. If you don’t know I’ve thrown it out you won’t miss it.”

“But, some of this stuff is good for a rummage sale.”

“Believe me, I’m doing someone else a favor by not letting them have it. Besides, it’s easier just to pitch it.”

“But Dad said he wanted a tax write off when he donates the stuff. Besides, Barbara’s going to come over and take it to the church for their rummage sale. They’re raising money for a mission trip,” as if that logic alone was enough to do away with the bonfire I’ve got in my head.

Another blank stare from me.

“OK, OK, just throw it out.”

The piles are slowly shrinking, the trash can slowly filling and yes, the garage sale pile is slowly growing.

We’re getting closer.

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