Watch TV or sort stuff?

 Let’s see, shall I watch baseball or football? It’s that wonderful time of year when there are more sporting events than I can keep up with.

It’s a good thing, too, because otherwise my mind might wander to one of my least favorite things—moving.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like new places and new things.

It’s a good thing, too, because I’ve relocated a half-dozen times during 42 years in the newspaper business.

The part that I hate is the actual process—selling a house, buying a house, and sorting and packing up all the stuff, only to find that some of it is not what you need in a new location.

I always think how easy it would be if I could just say, “Beam me up, Scotty” and it would be over.

Jenny and I are just starting the process of relocating to New Albany. You may remember that we have a high-school senior in Florence, Ala., and don’t plan to complete the move until he graduates in June.

But I was trying to pull together some documents last weekend to see what we will need to do to qualify for a home loan. It got me to thinking about my father, who grew up during the Depression, and how worried he was about my signing for a home loan.

When I bought my first house in the early 1970s for $27,500 in Jefferson City, Mo., he was beside himself.

“You’re going to pay 8 percent interest?” he said. “It’s exorbitant; you’ll go under.”

Then he launched off into stories about people standing in line for bread and sleeping in tents.

It didn’t get any better a few years later when I bought a house in San Diego with a 13 percent adjustable mortgage. It made him pretty nervous when I told him the rate had climbed to 17 percent.

Most of us really never have seen the kind of hard times that our parents or their parents endured. We have come to depend on the government to intervene in our economy to prevent a repeat of the Depression.

Dad probably even would have agonized about my current loan at 5 ¼ percent, but he died nine years ago at age 89.

During his last few years, he and my mother lived a frugal, but comfortable, life on their monthly Social Security and pension checks. 

They already had given up the family house, sold off a bunch of stuff and moved to a retirement community 20 years before.

And he almost certainly would have worried about us planning to buy another house during these tense economic times.

That’s not the part that bothers me, though. It’s just the process of getting it all accomplished. 

We’ll have to paint the kitchen cabinets in our current house. We’ll have to make Joe clean out his closet, and clear the brush out of the back of the backyard.

Then we’ll have to sort through boxes that we didn’t unpack after the last move. We might even tell my 33-year-old daughter, who lives in Pittsburgh, to come get the dozen or so big moving boxes full of stuffed animals that she saved before she went off to college. 

Or we might just put all of those boxes out of our minds, sit back and watch football and haul all our stuff to New Albany in the spring. Or should I watch baseball? 

Decisions. Decisions.


T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at