Well, I might-a gone fishin'…
June 15, 2004
It's a darn good thing I retired this winter. I really don't
know when I ever found time to work!
I've just now come from a whole week of intense effort,
cleaning out my storeroom, preparatory to embarking on Ellen's
Next Excellent Adventure.
The store room, also known, variously, as the backroom, the
playroom, the cold room, and my personal fave, that damn mess
back there, is a 12x16 foot room, an add-on that makes this
trailer work. Crammed to the rafters with the paraphernalia
and detritus of several lifetimes, it had been home to all the
stuff we couldn't bear to leave behind when we moved into town
from JC, as well as all the irresistible bargains Phil brought
home from his endless excursions to the War Eagle Mall -
better known as the local nuisance grounds. For nigh on twelve
years, it has also served as a sewing center, potting shed,
gymnasium and, on one, perhaps two, memorable occasions, the
arena for a genteel knock-down-and-drag-out discussion over
the best way to assemble an artificial Christmas tree.
One corner was - is - completely filled by the enormous old
freezer that provides a craft table and gift wrap area; skis,
pool cues and fishing poles shared another with a mismatched
pair of crutches. Two dressers and several shelving units line
the walls, a couple of large trunks sit cheek by jowl smack in
the middle of things and an ironing board forms a room
divider, partitioning off family treasures that no one wants
now but every one thinks should be preserved against possible
future desirability. Boxes of clothes, tools and glass jars
lean in precarious piles. Keel's extra speakers, twenty years
of tax papers and receipts, a brown grocery bag full of
natural treasures, including the dried penis bone of a moose,
and a pile of extraneous pictures and paintings, fill the area
under the sewing table while on top, the clunky old Singer
sits companionably at the side of our first computer system, a
still-functional Tandy 1000, the bequesting of which even my
youngest grandchild rejected without discussion or hesitation.
Narrow trails provided access to heaps of games, puzzles,
magazines, paint tins, ornaments, craft items and a lone case
of President's Choice Mushroom Stems and Pieces, an excellent
buy at $7.48/12 in a local Big Box. I was pretty sure there
was a geometrically patterned lino on the floor but it had
been so long since I'd seen it I couldn't be certain.
No doubt about it, the state of the room was a shame and a
disgrace and the only good thing to said about it was to
reiterate what I'd mentioned earlier, that it made the trailer
work. I shudder to imagine all that stuff stored under beds
and in closets and cupboards. Of course, it might have tended
to be self-limiting but that's a moot point now because a lot
of tough decisions, four loads back to the Mall, and a whole
lot of nails pounded into the dry wall later, the room is as
tidy as Aunt Tilly's drawers. Pictures, posters, hoses, and
baskets have been hung, great armloads of clothing bagged and
donated, electronic equipment gone to the Free Store... well,
I won't go on. Suffice it to say that after all that good
effort, all I want to do is stand and admire the results. I
don't, of course, because I have things to do, places to be,
lists to consult, adventures to set in motion...
It's my small, new-ish camper, you see. I found a little while
ago, deus ex machina, after weeks of and weeks of advertising
and inquiring, and it's sitting primly out there on it's
sawhorses, urging me to get done and get going, traveling,
fishing, you name it, I should be out doing it.
“Oh WOW, Ellen, finally, a CAMPER” I can hear you say. “That's
just great, excellent... now you can just pick up and go, here
or there, whenever, wherever, whenever the impulse strikes...”
And yeah, that's the general idea, grab my dog and a change of
clothes and be on the road to anywhere, the four winds my
invitation, spontaneity my password. After all, there's
nothing to hold me back. I'm retired from Mac's, the kids are
grown and gone, I'm footloose and all that good stuff.
HOO-YAH, I'm out-a here...
Or I will be, now that I've dealt with that store room.
See, I don't see any point in grabbing up Gibson and the
camera and taking off to points unknown and leaving behind a
mess to come back to. What would be the joy in that, knowing
when I came home again those heaps and piles of debris would
still have to be decided upon and dealt with? No, much easier
to be spontaneous when you can leave home with a clear
conscience and a clean store room.
And since that's all done, now all I have to do is load the
camper, grab dog and Phil's old fishing rod and take off for
parts unknown, LOOK OUT WORLD, I'm on my way!
Or rather, I will be once I rake up area in the back forty
where I'm going to landscape and fence when time and
circumstance are right. Been going to do that for a while but
there's always something else taking precedence, like a good
book or a nice stroll along the Millenium Trail, and it keeps
getting shunted off onto a siding. But now that I've got this
siren call of the open road ringing in my ears, I got a good
reason to get it done and off my mind. It's definitely number
two on my to-do-before-I go list, just ahead of painting the
two decks at the front of the trailer and yes, sanding, as
well as painting, the back one. It's been crying out for
attention for a few years now.
I'm really excited to be thinking about checking out Yukon's
back roads, lived up here all my life and I've hardly seen
anything having spent all my summers selling cinnamon buns or
books to a seasonal market. And that, my friends, is gonna
change RIGHT NOW. Just as soon as I finish the raking and
painting. And this column. Oh yeah, and new Yukon Voices
feature I've been working on for the Mac's Fireweed web site.
It's been coming along in fits and starts but I've got a good
start and I figger another week, tops, and we'll be good to go
Of course, my nephew, Neil, arrives this coming weekend for a
several day working visit so that will throw a bit of a
spanner into the works, what with a few family suppers and
sightseeing but we always have a good time when he's here and
you know that old saying, “Oh well, what the hell?” Maybe
while he's here he can give me a hand to refurbish the old
fishing rod, perhaps it's just the duct tape that needs
replacing but there's something funny going on with retrieve
too and I might be looking at a different reel, there's
probably one somewhere in the shed. God knows there's
everything else in there. It should be sorted out and tidied
too, while I'm at it...
So it looks like it could be a while before I'll be hitting
those back roads any time real soon. But you know what?
Just five minutes ago, impetuous madcap that I am, I made up
my mind and as soon as I get a letter off to my sister and
finish defrosting the fridge, I'm loading my new toy onto the
back of my little blue Ranger, grabbing up Gibson and a
sleeping bag, and we going camping.
Sure hope there's some room left in the Walmart parking lot.